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DMV Vaso-Vagal Syncope Policy

It is the policy of the Department of Motor Vehicles, based on guidance and recommendations from the Medical Advisory Board, that drivers who have a diagnosis of vaso-vagal syncope, should not drive for a period of 6 months from the date of the event.

A vaso-vagal syncope can be a loss of consciousness due to a clear, inciting event such as the sight of blood, extreme pain or coughing that can be well defined, identified, and agreed upon by the Medical Advisory Board.

Vaso-vagal responses are not well understood. Often the treating physician will diagnose vaso-vagal response or syncope when the results of all administered tests return as negative or inconclusive; hence, the 6-month waiting period before driving. The longer a driver goes without another blackout, the less likely another blackout will occur.

In cases where the driver insists on driving prior to the 6-month wait, the Medical Advisory Board has recommended that the driver have a full neurological work-up done by a neurologist and a full cardiology work-up done by an electro-physiologist. Tests run by the neurologist and electro-physiologist may include but are not limited to: EEG, ECG, tilt-table test, and the wearing of a halter or event monitor to capture irregular and/or dangerous arrhythmias.

If no cause has been found after the driver has had the work-up and tests, the driver must still wait until he has been free of blackouts for 6 months before driving again.

Additional Review

These cases may be reviewed by the Medical Advisory Board. It is the contention of the Board that failure to determine a cause of the vaso-vagal syncope does not mean that there is no cause for the event.