Tesla’s Full Self-Driving and Autopilot capabilities aim to create a safer driving environment for everyone on the road. But for one college student, the option to have the functionality has given hope that traveling at her leisure could be possible one day, as her epilepsy has prohibited her from ever obtaining a driver’s license.
Lauren, a student at a Michigan college, shared her story on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, stating that her first seizures came at an extremely young age. Because of her condition, the possibility of her ever driving became minimal, as the risk of spontaneous seizures impaired her ability to operate a vehicle safely.
“I had my first febrile seizure at five months old,” Lauren told Teslarati. “I have focal impaired epilepsy and absence seizures, so it went unnoticed until I was 17. My parents didn’t keep up with a neurologist.”
According to Epilepsy.com, Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures start in one area or side of the brain, and the person is not aware of their surroundings. These episodes last around 1 to 2 minutes typically, and include automatisms such as lip-smacking, fumbling, wandering, and grunting or moaning.
Lauren said another one of her symptoms included asking “weird, obvious questions.” One time during an episode, Lauren “asked her boyfriend who he was and where she was when they were at his apartment.” Along with the Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures, Lauren also has experienced Nocturnal Seizures, which occurred once a week.
Laws in most states allow drivers with epilepsy to obtain a license without much of an issue. WebMD stated that 700,000 drivers in the United States have a license, but it all depends on the type and frequency of the seizures.
Lauren has not been able to obtain a license because of her types of seizures. Effectively losing the ability to focus on surroundings would create a dangerous driving environment for everyone on the road, which has been Lauren’s main issue in her quest to drive a car. In her home state of Michigan, Neurologists are not required to disclose information to the DMV about an epileptic condition. Still, she believes cars with FSD capabilities would significantly improve her chances of driving a car herself.
For her, it would make life convenient and more affordable. “I’m looking forward to lowering my weekly Uber cost, being able to go grocery shopping without having to worry about running out of food, and being able to go to therapy.”
A sense of normalcy in terms of traveling would provide Lauren the opportunity to be less dependent on others when performing regular, everyday tasks, and she believes Tesla is onto something with FSD.
She admits that at first, she was convinced she would never be able to afford one. “I always thought that they were out of my price range due to David Dobrik having one.” However, she looked into the Model 3 and found out that the car is affordable, which gives her hope.
But for Lauren, FSD wouldn’t just change her life, but it would revolutionize driving and travel for those who suffer from similar conditions. “I just think more people would be able to drive and safely drive.”
Ultimately, Tesla FSD and fully-autonomous capabilities are a few years away. CEO Elon Musk has hinted in the past that Level 5 Autonomy is at least a few years away, but he is confident it will eventually be available for Tesla owners to take advantage of to make driving a routine way of life.