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Can I drive in France if I have Parkinson’s disease?

The association France Parkinson requested clarification from Florence Guillaume, the inter-ministerial delegate for road safety

person driving car

Details of a chronic illness which may affect driving can be given to a prefecture Pic: PV productions | Shutterstock

Reader question: Is there a requirement to declare a Parkinson’s diagnosis to continue driving in France? Some say there is an obligation to undergo an examination by an approved doctor to assess fitness to drive and ensure that insurance cover is not invalidated, but others say this is voluntary.

The confusion stems from a government decree published on March 28, 2022, which listed Parkinson’s disease among the conditions that are potentially incompatible with driving.

The wording suggested Parkinson’s is incompatible with keeping or renewing a driving licence while awaiting a decision from a specialised medical practitioner accredited by the prefecture.

Read more: Tango-therapy classes are helping Parkinson’s sufferers in Rennes

The association France Parkinson has been in touch with Florence Guillaume, the inter-ministerial delegate for road safety, to clarify this issue.

In response Ms Guillaume confirmed that a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not automatically considered incompatible with driving a car.

Assessment by a doctor certified by the prefecture is therefore not required for every diagnosis. It is only required if the patient requests it or, depending on how the symptoms evolve, if requested by their GP or neurologist.

Assessment not obligatory by recommended

France Parkinson confirmed to The Connexion that there is no obligation to request a medical examination.

A spokesman said: “It is recommended if there is a doubt, and the fact remains that in the case of a road accident, there is no guarantee that the person’s health condition cannot be invoked by the insurance company to designate responsibility.

“Declaring one’s situation with a chronic illness [to the prefecture’s bureau de la circulation] is a sign of transparency on this subject, but still, nothing obliges the patient to request an evaluation if they are not pushed by their doctor and if those close to them do not doubt their capacity to continue driving safely.”

Keep prefecture informed

If you have already begun the process with the prefecture to consult a specialist, France Parkinson advises carrying out the remaining steps, and informing the prefecture of the outcome once you have had the examination, otherwise this could work against you in case of an accident.

The association recommends looking into any medication you may be taking and reading the instructions, as certain medications can cause drowsiness.

Read more: Supply issues for medicines in France: Thousands of drugs affected

It also suggests discussing the situation with your doctor.

More advice is available at tinyurl.com/FPadvice.

If you are required to consult a specialist, you can search by postcode here.

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