A seizure is a an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain that can cause symptoms as mild as an "aura" or as severe as convulsions. An individual may experience a single seizure in his lifetime or have them chronically. This condition is called epilepsy. In the state of Pennsylvania, drivers who are epileptic or have recently had a seizure are subject to specific laws aimed at keeping everyone on the road safe while preserving the dignity and independence of the driver.
Pennsylvania's Medically Impaired Driver Law
According to Section 1518 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, all health care professionals authorized to diagnose or treat disorders as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Medical Advisory Board must "report to PennDOT within 10 days, in writing, the full name, address, and date of birth of any patient 15 years of age or older who has been diagnosed as having a condition that could impair his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle." Section (a) of the Code specifically addresses drivers who have "lost consciousness." This statute includes seizures, seizure disorders and epilepsy.
Restriction of Driver's License
Physicians or other health care providers who have come in contact with a person who has had a seizure must fill out the "Physicians Reporting Form" which is reviewed by the Medical Advisory Board. Unless the Board determines that the person is exempt from restrictions, PennDOT will contact the person to recall his driver's license for a period of six months.
Restoration of Driver's License
If a driver is seizure-free for six months, his physician must complete a medical report and send it to PennDOT certifying that the seizure was either a single, isolated incident or that the driver's seizure disorder is controlled by medication.
A doctor or physician can file a waiver to the PennDOT Medical Advisory Board if the driver who had a seizure meets any of the following criteria: --The seizures occur immediately upon waking and have an established pattern for at least two years preceding. --The driver experiences a prolonged aura or significant warning period preceding each seizure and this pattern has been established for at least two years. --The driver's seizures had been previously controlled by medication and the subsequent seizure occurred as a result of a change in prescribed medication authorized by a licensed physician. --The seizure occurred as a result of a toxic ingestion or other nonrecurring illness or trauma.