Changes in NJ Driving Law

The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey is happy to announce a change in the N.J. driving law for those living with Epilepsy.

Effective Monday, November 19, 2012 the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission reduced the seizure free period from one year to six months for drivers with epilepsy. This is a wonderful day for people with epilepsy in New Jersey, we anticipate that it will improve care and treatment, as well as employment for many.

Until now, New Jersey had been one of only a handful of states in the nation that required such a lengthy seizure free period to be eligible to drive. Between 1991 and 1992, as published in Epilepsia in 1994, representatives from the American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation of America met in a consensus conference on appropriate criteria for driver licensing of persons with epilepsy. Using the consensus positions as a foundation, the representatives crafted and agreed on model regulations and sample statutory provisions in March 1992. These recommendations included that a seizure free interval should be stated and that 3 months is preferred, starting from the date of the seizure.

In many states, the laws have become more liberal in recent years, resulting in fewer restrictions for people with epilepsy. The laws are written to protect public safety and to grant the privilege of driving to people who are the least likely to have an accident.

Thanks to the work of epilepsy advocates including members of the New Jersey Epilepsy Task Force, New Jerseyans with epilepsy will have less restrictions and the improved access that is often essential for independence and employment. We have not yet been successful in eliminating the physician reporting requirement, but we have dedicated individuals with epilepsy, family members and professionals who are committed to continue working on this issue.

For more information on New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) 13:19-5.1 (2012) click here.

TITLE 13. LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY 
CHAPTER 19. COMPLIANCE AND SAFETY 
SUBCHAPTER 5. CONVULSIVE SEIZURES
N.J.A.C. 13:19-5.1 (2012)

§ 13:19-5.1 Satisfaction of physical qualifications 

Any person 16 years of age or older who suffers or who has suffered from recurrent convulsive seizures, recurrent periods of impaired consciousness, or from impairment or loss of motor coordination due to conditions such as, but not limited to, epilepsy, in any of its forms, shall, as a prerequisite to the issuance of a learner’s permit or driver’s license, renewal of a driver’s license, or retention of a driver’s license, establish to the satisfaction of the Chief Administrator that he or she has been free from recurrent convulsive seizures, recurrent periods of impaired consciousness, or from impairment or loss of motor coordination for a period of six months with or without medication and that he or she is physically qualified to operate a motor vehicle.