Epilepsy Articles June 2021

EWCT brings you the latest news on epilepsy-related article

  1. Driving requires a complex array of neurological functions and skills that involve vision, thinking, attention and judgement, co-ordination, reaction time and motor control. Any of these can be impaired by epilepsy and seizures. People who drive vehicles may present safety concerns for themselves, their passengers and the public.

    Despite having epilepsy, many people are still able to drive and hold a driver’s licence, but conditions do apply. It is necessary to be assessed and advised by your neurologist to determine your eligibility to hold a driver’s licence. If break-through seizures occur, it is important for your safety, and that of other road users, to stop driving immediately. It may mean that there is a seizure-free period of a year before you are potentially able to hold a driver’s licence again. In some cases, the stand-down period could be six months, but this is at the discretion of the New Zealand Transport Authority in consultation with your neurologist.

    When you have been suspended from driving by a neurologist or GP because of a seizure, they will write a letter to the NZTA letting them know of that fact. This information is then relayed to the police who will keep it on record. You may be asked to hand in your driver’s licence to the AA for the period of your suspension and you will face criminal charges if you are caught driving a vehicle during this time.

    It would also be against the law if you drove a mobility scooter if your neurologist or GP deemed you unfit to drive.

  2. In 2020, research showed that one out of two drivers were unaware that it’s illegal to drive, when impaired by medication. And two out of three drivers used medications likely to cause impairment. Impaired driving is when your body or emotions have been affected (usually temporarily) in a way that makes you an unsafe driver.Even though medicine is legal, it can affect your cognitive processing, reaction times and perception of reality. It can also make you more fatigued. It’s illegal to drive when impaired by any medication. This is because you risk causing death or serious injury to yourself and other people.

  3. Please ask your EWCT epilepsy advisor if you are eligible for a Total Mobility or Busit card. Your advisor is the Waikato region assessor for these cards.

  4. You may apply to Workbridge online under “Support Funds” to help with transport to, and from, work.

  5. Losing a driver’s licence can sometimes compromise your ability to do your job. Depending on your situation, an employer must make reasonable measures to ensure that you keep your job under the

    Human Rights Act 1993 You can approach an employment lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

    Ask your EWCT epilepsy advisor to advocate on your behalf.

  6. The Government anticipates employers will make reasonable accommodation when employing people with disability, and provides funding to cover any additional costs an employee has as a direct consequence of their disability, when undertaking the same job as a person without a disability.