Epilepsy Northwest News & Blog

Please note that advice in this section is for educational purposes only.

Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding your personal health issues.

I had a seizure; if I tell my doctor, does he have to report it to the Department of Licensing?

Answer by Nicholas Poolos, MD

Whether or not a physician is required by law to report a patient with uncontrolled seizures to the motor vehicle bureau varies by state. Only six states at present are “reporting” states. Oregon is one of them, but Washington State is not. In both Oregon and Washington, anyone who has had a loss of consciousness for any reason, seizures included, must refrain from driving for six months. However, in Washington, it is up to the patient to report that fact to the Department of Licensing when their driver’s license comes up for renewal, not their physician. I think that most physicians prefer not to be required to report their patients to the motor vehicle bureau–it just puts a barrier between the doctor and patient, discouraging the patient from informing the doctor about breakthrough seizures and getting the care they need.

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