Driving in adults with refractory localization-related epilepsy

Anne T. Berg, E. G. Vickrey, M. R. Sperling, J. T. Langfitt, C. W. Bazil, S. Shinnar, T. S. Walczak, S. Pacia, S. S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the frequency of driving an automobile and characteristics associated with driving in individuals with refractory localization-related epilepsy. Background: Driving is generally restricted and monitored in people with epilepsy. Little is known about the frequency of driving and subsequent accidents specifically in individuals with uncontrolled epilepsy. Methods: In an ongoing, prospective, multicenter study of resective epilepsy surgery, individuals were interviewed when they presented for surgical evaluation. Analyses were conducted using chi-square, t-tests, and multiple logistic regression. Results: Of 367 eligible participants, 115 (31.3%) had driven in the last year, most on at least a weekly basis. In a multivariable analysis, factors associated with an increased likelihood of driving were having a current license (OR = 10.71, p < 0.001) and ever having had a license (OR = 3.86, p = 0.003). Younger individuals were also more likely to drive. Lower levels of driving were found in women (OR = 0.31, p < 0.001), individuals who were self-described as disabled (OR = 0.20, p < 0.001), and those who were employed full-time (OR = 0.43, p = 0.03) or part-time (OR = 0.15, p = 0.005). At some point in the past, 144 individuals experienced one or more seizures while driving, and 98 experienced at least one accident because of a seizure. Of those who had accidents, 94% reported property damage, 32% had an injury, and 20% caused injury to others. Conclusions: Despite restrictions, almost one third of individuals with refractory epilepsy drive. Understanding why they do may help identify means of modifying this behavior or identifying services that, if provided, would help people with uncontrolled epilepsy forego driving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-630
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2000


  • Accidents
  • Adults
  • Automobile driving
  • Epilepsy
  • Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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