Events & News


Survey on Epilepsy Topics: How much do you know about epilepsy and driving?

In which state are doctors forced by law to report patients being treated for recurrent seizures (epilepsy) to the Motor Vehicle Department?

77 votes
New York 42%
New Jersey 58%

The right answer is: NEW JERSEY requires doctors to report their epilepsy patients directly to the Motor Vehicle Department.

Regardless of the state law, doctors always must counsel a patient with epilepsy to avoid driving, especially if the patient’s seizures involve loss of consciousness. 

Driving laws for epilepsy and seizures vary from state to state.  Some states, such as New Jersey, require that the doctor report a patient with seizures to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), while in other states like New York, the patient is counseled by the doctor and is responsible for communicating with the DMV regarding their epilepsy. There are different rules and regulations that apply epilepsy and seizures and specific kinds of driver’s licenses (Regular License, Commercial License, etc.).

Although public safety is paramount, many in the medical profession are opposed to the mandatory reporting of seizures and epilepsy that some states impose on doctors.  Reasons for this are: 1) Doctors are put in the position of being “policemen” rather than healthcare providers 2) The patient-doctor relationship is often damaged because the patient feels betrayed by the doctor who reported his/her epilepsy to the state. 3) Patients may not disclose break-through seizures to the doctor who will then not make necessary changes in the treatment to help. 

Moreover, other medical conditions that also have the potential to lead to unsafe driving are not as strictly regulated as epilepsy. In addition, many drivers who are taking strong sedative medications are not regulated by the states even though there is a high danger for accidents. This has been described as discriminatory against epileptics by some epilepsy advocacy groups.

Useful websites:

To locate state-by-state driving information for all license types:

For foreign visitors driving in the US:

Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration for Federal laws (CDL) general:

Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration for Federal laws (CDL/neurology)

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