Penalties eyed for drivers who fail to disclose illnesses such as epilepsy


A panel set up by the National Police Agency has proposed the introduction of new penalties for drivers who fail to declare when updating their driver's licenses preexisting conditions, such as epilepsy, that could compromise road safety.

The panel of experts was commissioned to study the issue after epileptic drivers caused fatal road accidents in Kyoto and Tochigi prefectures. The panel found that in the last five years, 69% of drivers whose epilepsy caused a traffic accident, failed to declare their condition when renewing their driver's licenses.

On April 12 this year, a minivan crashed into pedestrians on a crowded street in Kyoto's popular Gion tourist district, killing two men and five women. Eleven others were injured in the incident. The 30-year-old driver, who apparently suffered an epileptic attack while driving, also died.

A similar incident also took place in Tochigi Prefecture, in April 2011 when a man driving a mobile crane suffered an epileptic fit while driving. His vehicle plowed into a group of elementary school pupils, killing six. The man was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on a charge of negligent driving resulting in death and injury.

The NPA panel has recommended introducing penalties for failing to declare, when applying for or renewing a driver's license, preexisting conditions that could pose a road traffic hazard. The panel also suggested a system whereby doctors could, at their own discretion, report patients whose conditions they believe could hamper their ability to safely operate a vehicle.

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Again closing the barn door after the horse is out.

This so called panel should have gone a few more steps and made it mandatory for persons with epilepsy to prove that they have had no seizures for a period of 6 months to a year and show proof of being medicated.

Epilepsy can be controlled with medication and those inflicted with the illness should be able to drive but the safety of everyone else on the road is important too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you do have epilepsy kindly refrain from ever driving any kind of car, truck, bus, ship, airplane etc...penalties???? I'm sure the JT moderator would not like my colorful adjectives I have in my mind for all of those too selfish to not drive and end up killing others, IMHO.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

More passive policies. Just make it mandatory for doctors to report the conditions and be done with it. How bloody difficult is it? Gees! Obviously, these people with debilitating illness can't be trusted to declare their illnesses so make the doctors do it. How many more innocent people will die before these dithering twits do something constructive?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If they get caught. How many times have you seen drivers been pulled over? Or seen them pulled over for actually committing a visible offense like drive while talking on their phone (and watching tv, no indicating, etc). Nice try J-cops.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just make it mandatory for doctors to report the conditions and be done with it

Absolutely. No more band aids. People suffering from epilepsy, with attacks coming and going, may turn their motor vehicles into lethal weapons, and have done so. Stop gap measures are deplorable.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wow, I'm surprised (or should I?) at the super fast response to my comment: vote down! Must have come from someone who supports one's freedom to cover up a condition that can turn a driver into a killer. Fine attitude.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They could make lying to a national public officer a crime, as America has apparently done, but then the gaols will be filled with members of parliament, other public officers, electrical power employees, etc.

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The NPA panel has recommended introducing penalties for failing to declare, when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, preexisting conditions that could pose a road traffic hazard.

I am just wondering if there is a list of hazardous health conditions to be declared or if this is left at the own individual's discretion to evaluate self disability?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've heard of stroke victims getting back behind the wheel with the expected mayhem & deaths! many elderly drivers as well feel as if by denying their Priviledge to drive your taking away their independence, so do your best to Take Away the Keys,, even report them as painful as that may be. You'll be glad you did!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Disillusioned and presto345. All for giving up doctor/patient confidentiality are we?

Any ideas as to what constitutes a medical condition that should require reporting and henceforth possible revocation of privileges?

Previous heart attack? Stroke? Diabetes? Epilepsy? Anemia? Stress? Exhaustion? Attention deficit disorder? Incontinence?

Perhaps they should consider the implications of distractions such as turning on the radio, and ban all drivers with radios in their vehicles?

Abolish drive thrus, since it gives access to food? Eating is after all a distraction.

Actually, both of those examples require fingers to perform, maybe it should be illegal for drivers with fingers to drive?

As you can see I am being a bit serious and a bit sarcastic, I just wonder if you have considered the implications attached to the suggestions you have posted/are supporting?

0 ( +0 / -1 )

How about the penalty of not giving them a driver's license??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with the Egyptian, Rames. Abolish all driving. No one goes anywhere except by train...oooops. They have accidents and kill innocent people. Ok. Only bicycles. Wait. Deaths there too. Alright; people only walk. nope; death from walking has happened.

Face it folks; live is dangerous. At some point during the practice of life death is going to happen. To everyone. I bet more deaths and accidents happen from people falling asleep at the wheel than any combination of sicknesses. By this (above peep's) reasoning, anyone who ever falls asleep should be banned from driving, or get fined.

MORE regulation of Japan will not solve the problems. The problem is over-regulation. Making more will not solve Japan or humanity's problems.

0 ( +1 / -2 )


Many countries outright ban people with certain conditions from doing certain things. Medical restrictions can be applied when the rules are set in place by a board of medical experts, and they can be done in such a way as to avoid inconvenience to those with conditions that do not significantly increase their chances of injury.

As for radio, it isn't as big an issue as texting/cellphone use, and that was made illegal in many countries.

However, if you went the cyclemate method of no more driving, you could cut the number of fatalities by 5500 a year, a sizable chunk.

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