The effectiveness of current self-reporting driving laws for medically-unfit potential seizure patients is unknown in Canada. We designed a prospective cohort study of patients’ self-reporting practices to the local Transportation Registry (TR) and their driving behaviors following detailed counselling at a seizure clinic in a discretionary physician-reporting jurisdiction.
Medically unfit drivers, referred to our seizure clinic, who had a valid driver’s permit at the time of their episode of impaired consciousness were included. Patients’ self-reporting and driving behaviours were assessed using a standardized interview prior to a neurologist’s counseling and later at a follow-up visit.
Sixty three patients were included; 77% were diagnosed as having had a seizure at the time of their referral. Prior to their seizure clinic visit, 3/63 (5%) had been counseled to self-report to the TR by a non-neurologist physician, and none had done so. Following a neurologist’s documented counseling 34/63 (54%) had self-reported themselves at the follow-up seizure clinic visit, and 53/63 (84%) were not driving.
This prospective study design is the first in North America to examine self-reporting rates for unfit drivers with a seizure disorder. Our findings suggest that self-reporting laws do not ensure high rates of self-reporting behaviors even when patients seen at a seizure clinic are appropriately counseled of their legal obligations. The rate of driving cessation appears greater than the rate of self-reporting to the TR among counseled patients.