Background: Many patients with epilepsy travel abroad and drive automobiles with the assumption that policies, rules, and regulations on epilepsy and driving are similar to those of their home countries. This paper investigates the driving restrictions and other pertinent information on this issue in foreign countries.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 231 neurologists (chosen from American neurological and epilepsy societies) from 84 countries and to 230 official (embassies and consulates) representatives of 134 countries asking for the local rules and regulations and their comments on driving and epilepsy.
Results: One hundred and sixty-six responses were received from 96 of 134 (72%) countries. One hundred and six neurologists (of 231 queried [46%]) responded. In 16 countries, persons with epilepsy are not permitted to drive. In the remaining countries, these patients must have a seizure-free period of 6 to 36 months. This period varies according to the type of seizure. In five countries, physicians must report the names of these patients to their local authorities. In many countries, the rules and regulations are being reevaluated and changed.
Conclusions: Patients with epilepsy who plan to drive overseas are advised to contact local embassies and consulates, well before their trips (and keep records of the communications) to obtain the latest information on the rules and regulations governing the driving of automobiles in those countries.