Medical conditions & driving: legal requirements & approach of neurologists

Med Law. 1997;16(2):269-75.


Licensing of drivers with health problems, particularly epilepsy, has medical, social and legal implications that vary from country to country. Legislation and medical guidelines are based as much on empirical as on statistical data. A questionnaire regarding neurological disorders and driving was given to all adult neurologists in Canada (n = 494) and an assessment made of opinions of neurologists working under mandatory reporting legislation compared to those in a discretionary reporting environment. Of 289 (59%) neurologists responding, 50% reported patients with seizures to the Department of Motor Vehicles compared to only 4% for stroke/TIA, 26% for dementia and 8% for other neurological disorders (p < .0001). In the five provinces with mandatory reporting laws, seizures were reported most of the time by 84% compared to only 19% in the five provinces with discretionary reporting laws (p < .0001). An overall minority agreed with mandatory reporting (44%) but this percentage differed in the provinces with and without mandatory reporting legislation (63% vs. 37%, p < .0001). Seizure disorders are selectively reported more often than other neurological conditions. There is considerable variability in the attitude and practice of neurologists in regard to reporting of medical conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Brain Diseases*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Notification / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Epilepsy*
  • Humans
  • Neurology*
  • Ontario