To the editor: We at the Epilepsy Foundation Los Angeles were heartbroken to read Paul Karrer’s article about his father’s death.

His story, however, is a tragic outlier. Adults with well-controlled epilepsy are involved in fewer crashes than drivers with many other medical conditions. One study found that a fraction of 1% of all car crashes are caused by a person with epilepsy.

People with uncontrolled epilepsy or who are not taking their medication as prescribed should not be driving. People should also be honest with their doctors — but California is one of only six states that require doctors to report anybody with epilepsy to the government, making many afraid to speak openly to their physicians.

That’s why we support Senate Bill 357 by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge). SB 357 would replace an ineffective mandatory reporting system with one that promotes honest dialogue, while maintaining the DMV’s authority to withhold or suspend a license from a potentially unsafe driver.

Too many people with epilepsy live in fear and shame of their condition. As we learned from Karrer’s piece, making people afraid to talk about their seizures with their own doctors can have tragic consequences.


Source:, David Parker, Rebekkah Halliwell