'Give DL to those not having seizure attacks for a year'

World Epilepsy Day Early diagnosis can control disease

Presently, the Act does not permit an epileptic patient to obtain a driving licence.
However, Dr G T Subash. President of IEA and Director of Bangalore Medical College opines that an epileptic patient  should be allowed to drive a private vehicle at least. “Any epileptic patient who has been free from seizure attacks for more than a year or two can ideally drive a private vehicle. A medical certificate from a neurologist stating the medical condition should suffice to obtain a driving licence to drive a personal vehicle,” he says.

While the norms in the US and European countries allow an epileptic patient who has no records of seizures for a year to drive his/her private vehicle, the law is still stringent in India and bars them from driving a vehicle despite their medical history.

This has done more harm than good as every year thousands conceal their medical condition to secure a permit to drive even a public transport.

Although epilepsy is an incurable disease, it can be controlled with proper intervention of medicines at the right time. Dr Satishchandra, Professor of Neurology at Nimhans, says that he attends to a lot of patients who are drivers and many of them are public transport drivers. Even he believes that if an epileptic person is under proper medication and has not suffered a seizure attack for more than a year, he/she should be allowed to obtain a driving licence.

Debatable issue

While maintaining that the issue is a debatable one, Transport Commissioner Bhaskar Rao said that he had received the representation from IEA and has forwarded it to the Central Committee for further discussion.

“I empathise with the patients. But here, the Motor Vehicle Act needs to be amended which will be discussed at the Central level along with suggestions from doctors of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS). Such changes will take,” Rao said.

When questioned about public transport drivers concealing their medical condition, he said that shortly more stringent rules will be implemented in issuing a driving licence for all. “Much to the displeasure of the citizens, we will introduce additional medical tests and night driving test to obtain a licence,” he declared.

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