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Fatal crash sparks epilepsy fear

2012-08-15 09:10

EPILEPTICS, TAKE CARE: Epileptic drivers are urged to ensure they're fit to drive after a Johannesburg metro cop suffered a seizure at the wheel of his car, killing a six-month old baby.

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

On Tuesday, August 14 2012 a six-month old baby died on his mother's back when a Johannesburg Metro police officer had an epileptic fit and drove into them in Meadowlands, Soweto.

The same officer, in another epilepsy incident in 2011, hit a wall on his way to work while driving his own car.


Epilepsy SA said on Tuesday: "We believe the decision on whether or not someone with epilepsy should be allowed to drive should be at the discretion of the patient's neurologist."

The organisation said epileptics ought to make that decision after careful consideration of a doctor's advice and South African law. According to the SA National Road Traffic Act (Regulations 99 and 102, Section 15) you may not drive if you have uncontrolled epilepsy.

ESA added: "The decision is based on the type and severity of seizures, and the degree to which they are controlled."

Studies had shown that people with uncontrolled seizures were at greater risk of a road incident. Those whose seizures were medicated, however, had little increased risk. ESA advised that if a person changed or stopped medication suddenly that person should not drive again until cleared by a doctor.

A person who had a seizure for the first time in years should also stop driving and seek medical advice.

Are you dealing with epilepsy? Let us know what you think about the drive/don't drive situation through our Readers' Comments section below.

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