Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Symposium 1

Epilepsy and law

Masato Matsuura

Section of Biofunctional Informatics, Tokyo Medical and Dental University

In Japan, the law related to mental health and welfare for the person with mental disorders is also applied to the people with epilepsy (PWE). PWE are said to utilize social resources, such as financial supports for medical care, cost of living, etc, ineffectively. The driving regulations in Japan were amended in 2002, which granted licenses to PWE after a two-year seizure free period. In 2010, 3,373 PWE legally obtained a driving license, and the attending doctor assessed fitness for driving in most of the cases. The main remarks from the doctors of Japan Epilepsy Society included the need to shorten the seizure-free period of two years, and to lengthen the withholding period of six months to qualify for fitness to drive. Problems of assessment identified included difficulty in assessing the risk of seizure recurrence, and in deciding the time for reassessment. In 2010, 71 traffic accidents resulting in injuries or death were supposed to be caused by epileptic seizures, and only five drivers had previously declared their condition. Effective action plans, including education for the public, patients, and professionals, are urgently needed to heighten compliance of the regulation and to decrease traffic accidents relating to PWE.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (230K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 52: 1033|1035, 2012)
key words: the law related to mental health and welfare of the person with mental disorders, social resources, driving license, relative restriction, EU directive

(Received: 23-May-12)