Driving and epilepsy. A review and reappraisal

JAMA. 1991 Feb 6;265(5):622-6.


Driving and epilepsy is a problem that involves physicians as both care providers to patients and consultants to regulatory authorities. Driving restrictions for people with seizure disorders are intended to ensure the public's safety, but such restrictions may unduly harm the welfare of many people with seizures. In the United States, all states now permit some people with epilepsy to drive. In general, only people whose seizures are adequately controlled are licensed to drive. Adequate control has been judged principally by the seizure-free interval, but individual state standards widely vary. There is a trend toward greater liberalization of driving standards for people with seizure disorders, but the appropriateness and application of these standards continue to raise questions, as does the role physicians should have in the licensing process. Our responsibilities to persons with disabilities and advances in our understanding of seizures and the nature of driving risks warrant a reappraisal of the current medical, legal, and social implications of driving and epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Automobile Driving* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Epilepsy* / complications
  • Epilepsy* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Unconsciousness / complications
  • Unconsciousness / etiology