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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, will have their privilege to operate a motor vehicle suspended for a period of six 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 based on the information received by DMV.

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 six-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 six-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. The 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 Holter or Event Monitor to capture irregular and/or dangerous arrhythmias.

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.

If the driver has had the work-up and tests and no cause was found, the driver will remain suspended until he/she has been free of syncopal or loss of consciousness events for a period of six months.

If a clear cause is identified, the driver has received treatment, and future risk of reoccurrence has been mitigated, the driver may be allowed to return to driving, depending upon the information provided.

Additional Requirements

DMV may impose additional requirements on the individual depending on the information received by the agency.