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Epilepsy Behav. 2007 Feb;10(1):55-62. Epub 2006 Oct 18.

A comparison of physicians' attitudes and beliefs regarding driving for persons with epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, RMSB 338, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 356294-1212, USA.



The purpose of this survey was to compare attitudes and opinions regarding driving restrictions for persons with epilepsy (PWE) between internal medicine and general practice physicians and neurologists.


A questionnaire aimed at eliciting physicians' perspectives related to driving with epilepsy was developed that focused on physicians' experiences and opinions with respect to driving issues for PWE. Three groups of physician subspecialties were targeted based on the likelihood of persons with epilepsy in their practice: neurologists, family practice physicians, and internal medicine practitioners. Questions asked about driving with controlled and uncontrolled seizures, predictable auras, nocturnal seizures, seizures without loss of consciousness, patient reporting, seizure-related accidents, and patient justifications for driving.


Error rates were high with respect to knowledge of state reporting practices, especially among family practitioners and internal medicine physicians. Family practitioners and internists were less likely than neurologists to support driving for people with uncontrolled seizures under specific conditions and more likely to support a minimum seizure-free period before issuing a driver's license and mandatory reporting of seizure information. Physicians who thought they were from states with mandatory reporting were more supportive of mandatory reporting of seizure information and setting a minimum seizure-free period before a driver's license is issued. Physicians having fewer patients with epilepsy were more likely to oppose driving in persons with intractable seizures.


Nonneurologists have more restrictive beliefs regarding driving for PWE, who are in fact allowed to drive in many states. Nonneurologists, in particular, demonstrated poor knowledge of state reporting requirements for PWE. The data from this study support a significant effort to promote education of all physicians regarding state regulations and aspects of epilepsy related to driving.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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