Driving Regulations Task Force

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Driving Regulations Task Force

Introduction

“There are few aspects of having epilepsy in adult life that cause greater distress than the necessary legal restrictions on driving”.

Hopkins, A. Appleton, R 1996
“Epilepsy The Facts”

Across Europe, persons with epilepsy can experience widely different regulations regarding driving. Many countries operate a blanket ban on people with epilepsy preventing them from driving, while other countries have regulations that may differ significantly from neighbouring countries. Therefore the need for Europe-wide regulations is very evident.


Driving Regulations Across Europe

At present the following European countries, ranked according to their GDP, have driving regulations for epilepsy:

1 Luxembourg 69,800
2 Norway 42,364
4 Ireland 40,610
5 Iceland 35,115 (not a member for the EU)
6 Denmark 34,740
9 Austria 33,432
10 Switzerland 32,571 (not a member of the EU)
12 Belgium 31,244
13 Finland 31,208
15 Netherlands 30,862

17 Germany 30,579
18 United Kingdom 30,436
19 Sweden 29,926
20 France 29,187
21 Italy 28,534
25 Spain 26,320
30 Greece 22,392
36 Malta 19,739
37 Portugal 19,335
38 Czech Republic 18,341

Interestingly the countries who do not have driving regulations tend to have lower GDPs.

31 Slovenia 21,808
33 Cyprus 21,177
41 Hungary 16,823
43 Estonia 16,414
45 Slovakia 16,041
49 Lithuania 14,158

51 Poland 12,994
53 Latvia 12,666
66 Bulgaria 9,223
67 Romania 8,785
75 Turkey 7,950

There are many reasons why persons with epilepsy are excluded from or unfairly limited in driving privileges

  • Fear / Stigma / Cultural / Religious;
  • Adherence / Compliance problems;
  • Economic Reasons;
  • Doctor reporting issues with Authorities;
  • Lack of representation for persons with epilepsy.

Therefore it is very significant that the 20 countries with regulations all have IBE member organisations run by lay people. None of the 11 countries without regulations have this sort of an IBE organisation.


Second Working Group on Epilepsy and Driving of the European Union

The first EU recommendations with regard to epilepsy and driving were published in 1996. A Second Working Group on Epilepsy and Driving of the European Union, chaired by Dr. Eric Schmedding was brought together in 2004 and this task force contained many of the members of the original 1996 working group. This working group has also published recommendations for persons with epilepsy and driving.

Recommendations for Group 1 Licence Holders (Private Motor Cars)

First Seizure
Epilepsy
Provoked seizure
Sleep seizures
Other seizures without influence on driving ability
Other loss of consciousness
Seizure because of change of medication

6 months
12 months
Varies
12 months + no other seizures
12 months + no other seizures
Varies
3 months

Recommendations for Group 2 Licence Holders (Heavy Goods Vehicles, Buses)

First unprovoked seizure
The applicant who has had a first unprovoked epileptic seizure can be declared able to drive once 5 years freedom of further seizures has been achieved without the aid of anti-epileptic drugs, if there has been an appropriate neurological assessment National authorities may allow drivers with recognised good prognostic indicators to drive sooner.

Epilepsy
10 years freedom of further seizures has been achieved without the aid of anti-epileptic drugs. National authorities may allow drivers with recognised good prognostic indicators to drive sooner.


Comparison of Country Regulations and EU Recommendations

A survey of the countries with driving regulations revealed inconsistencies between countries and also highlighted variations from the EU recommendations.

Group 1
Epilepsy – Seizure Free Period in Months

Country
Belgium
Croatia
Czech Republic
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel

Months
12
24
12
Varies
12
12
12

Country
Malta
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
UK
EU Recs.

12

Months
24
24
12
12
12

Group 1
Sleep Seizures Only – Period in Months

Country
Belgium
Croatia
Czech Republic
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel

Months
24
No Details
No Rule
No Rule
No Details
24
No Rule

Country
Malta
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
UK
EU Recs.

No Rule

Months
No Rule
60 in some cases
No Rule
36
12

Group 1
First Seizure (unprovoked) – Seizure Free Period in Months

Country
Belgium
Croatia
Czech Republic
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel

Months
6
No Details
12
As Epilepsy
3-6
12
12

Country
Malta
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
UK
EU Recs.

12

Months
24
Varies
12
12
6

Group 1
Seizure Without Loss of Consciousness – Seizure Free Period in Months

Country
Belgium
Croatia
Czech Republic
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel

Months
3
No Details
No Rule
No Rule
No Details
12
No Rule

Country
Malta
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
UK
EU Recs.

No Rule

Months
No Rule
No Rule
No Rule
No Rule
12

Group 2
Epilepsy – Seizure Free Period in Years

Country
Belgium
Croatia
Czech Republic
France
Germany
Ireland
Israel

Years
Life (some exceptions)
Life
10
Varies
5
Life
1

Country
Malta
Portugal
Sweden
Switzerland
UK
EU Recs.

1

Years
Life
5
10
10
10


By | 2017-02-27T13:55:19+00:00 October 11th, 2008|Task Force|0 Comments