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Updated 17 July 2014

Examine epileptic drivers

Epilepsy SA has urged epileptic drivers to have regular examinations by neurologists to prevent attacks behind the wheel.

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Epilepsy SA has urged epileptic drivers to have regular examinations by neurologists to prevent attacks behind the wheel.

The Star reported that a six-month old baby died on his mother's back when a metro police officer allegedly suffering an epileptic attack, crashed into them in Meadowlands, Soweto. In another attack last year the same officer hit a wall on his way to work, while driving his own car.

"Epilepsy South Africa believes that the decision on whether or not someone with epilepsy should be allowed to drive should be at the sole discretion of the patient's neurologist," ESA said in a statement.

Driving with epilepsy

The organisation said epileptic people ought to make the decision about whether it was safe for them to drive after careful consideration of both a doctor's advice and South African law.

According to the SA National Road Traffic Act (Regulations 99 and 102, section 15) you are not permitted to drive if you have uncontrolled epilepsy.

"The decision is based on the type and severity of seizures, and the degree to which they are controlled.” ESA said studies showed that people with uncontrolled seizures had an increased risk of having a car accident.

People whose seizures were controlled, however, did not have a significantly increased risk.

ESA advised that if a person changed or stop medication suddenly, they had to stop driving until the doctor advised they could do so again.

A person who had a seizure for the first time in years also had to stop driving and consult their doctor.

(Sapa, August 2012)

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