Epilepsy, Driving Laws, and Patient Disclosure to Physicians

M. C. Salinsky, K. Wegener, F. Sinnema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Summary: To avoid loss of driving privileges, patients with epilepsy may elect not to report seizures to their physician or to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Reporting to the physician may differ depending upon the type of law in effect, i.e., mandatory physician reporting versus patient reporting to the DMV. Nondisclosure to the physician may have important consequences with regard to seizure management. We surveyed patients at two adult seizure clinics to determine the effect of driving laws on patients' reporting to their physician. One hundred fifty‐eight patients completed an anonymous questionnaire asking whether they would report a breakthrough seizure under a physician versus a patient DMV reporting system. Under patient reporting, 96% would inform their physician and 56% would report to the DMV. Under physician reporting, 84% would inform their physician. This falls to 72% when considering currently driving patients only. An additional 9–17% of patients would continue to drive with a suspended license. In all, 53% would remain driving under patient reporting and 33% under physician reporting; however, with physician reporting, half of the illegally driving patients would have compromised their medical care, potentially increasing driving risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-472
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1992


  • Automobile driver examination
  • Automobile driving
  • Epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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