Individual state driving restrictions for people with epilepsy in the US

Gregory L. Krauss, Lorraine Ampaw, Allan Krumholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: States in the United States vary widely in their approaches to restricting driving for patients with epilepsy. Many states have shortened seizure-free restrictions or have adopted flexible regulations that consider individual clinical factors in determining driving privileges. The authors summarized state driving restrictions for patients with seizures, particularly unpublished regulatory practices, and determined the role and liability of physicians in judging driving safety for patients with epilepsy. Methods: The authors surveyed motor vehicle administration bureaus in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and compared the laws, regulations, and practices restricting driving for people with epilepsy. Key responses from a questionnaire were confirmed by state motor vehicle administrations with phone interviews and by a signed executive summary. Results: Twenty-eight states, including the District of Columbia, have laws requiring patients with epilepsy to be free of seizures for single fixed periods, with a median restriction of six months (range, 3 to 12 months). Twenty-three states have adopted more flexible approaches to restricting driving, such as varying seizure-free restrictions based on individual clinical factors. Many states allow patients to drive after shorter seizure-free periods than stated in their laws. These practices, however, are usually unpublished and not easily accessible. Physicians helped determine when their patients may drive in 13 states and were not legally shielded for their assessments in six of these states. Conclusions: States vary widely in how they regulate driving for patients with seizures. These varied regulatory approaches present potentially valuable models to determine how driving might be best regulated to protect public and patient safety optimally while permitting patients with controlled seizures to drive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1780-1785
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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