Intended for healthcare professionals


Epilepsy and driving

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 07 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:60
  1. Ettore Beghi, head (,
  2. Josemir W Sander, professor
  1. Laboratory of Neurological Disorders, Istituto “Mario Negri,” Milan, Italy
  2. Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, University College London Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 3BG

    Regulations in the European Union need harmonisation as well as greater flexibility

    The lack of driving privileges is one of the major concerns of people with epilepsy. Seizures undoubtedly represent a potential source of accidents and injuries, and this justifies limitations on driving for people liable to epileptic seizures. Convincing evidence shows that in the absence of seizures (with or without treatment), the risk of accidents and injuries is clearly decreased and tends to be close to that of the general population.1 2

    Unfortunately, the variability of published reports on risk has led to differing regulations for a driving licence among the members of the European Union and elsewhere in the world,3 with each jurisdiction developing and enforcing its own regulations on epilepsy and driving. The European Council Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences reports, “a licence may be issued or renewed subject to an examination by a competent medical authority and to regular medical check-ups. The authority shall decide on the state of the epilepsy or other disturbances of consciousness, its clinical form and progress (no seizure in the last two years, for example), the treatment received and the results thereof.”4 …

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