How do driving restrictions vary among patients with epilepsy?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Driving restrictions differ for each patient because of the individual features of their seizures, their degree of seizure control, and, in the United States, state laws. US physicians should be aware of the state regulations regarding driving, which vary considerably among states. If clinicians practice in a state that requires mandatory reporting of patients with epilepsy to the Department of Motor Vehicles, they must ensure they are compliant with state laws and have documentation. International variation regarding reporting is also considerable; some countries have more permissive or more restrictive laws regarding driving than does the United States.

Aside from state laws, recommendations regarding driving motorized vehicles also vary depending on whether the patient has seizures that occur exclusively during sleep. Consult current state and federal laws and regulations. For example, to resume commercial driving across state lines, a patient must have a 5-year seizure-free period. The recommendation for driving cars and trucks extends to the operation of other motorized vehicles, such as boats and motorcycles. Aircraft pilots are typically no longer permitted to fly.

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