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What to do if you are a driver with bipolar disorder in California

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You might have heard stories about the California DMV revoking licenses from people with bipolar disorder, and you might be wondering what the chances are this could happen to you. Maybe you feel like your moods or episodes don’t affect your driving at all. Or maybe you’re wondering if they actually do.

While it is true that having a manic or depressive episode can result in unsafe decisions on the road, not all people with bipolar disorder are unsafe drivers. It does matter how intense your episodes are, because in extreme cases, drivers might be more prone to recklessness. Also, it matters what kind of medication you’re taking. Some bipolar medication can result in reduced alertness, which is something you want to avoid when you’re behind the wheel.

California law allows the DMV to investigate whether or not you’re fit to drive if you have a medical or mental condition that might make it harder to drive safely. So if you get a letter in the mail telling you about a reexamination appointment, don’t panic. They’ll test you to see if you’re able to drive safely, and if they don’t see a problem, you can go back to cruising the California roads. If they do see a problem, then your license might be suspended.

But people aren’t perfect and sometimes, they make mistakes. If your license is suspended, but you feel you can still drive safely, the DMV allows you to ask for a hearing. They’ll discuss and debate over your case, and at the end of it, they might decide to reverse their decision.

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