Epilepsy-related automobile accidents in Japan: legal changes about a precedent and penal regulations

Having epilepsy was defined as an absolute disqualification for driving license in Japan in the Road Traffic Act enacted in 1960. The 2002 revision of the Road Traffic Act conditionally permitted epileptic patients to obtain a driver’s license, in view of subsequent changes in domestic road traffic conditions and advances in epilepsy treatment and owing to efforts by interested parties. However, their legal responsibility for driving a car was extensively discussed in newspapers and other media as well as in the Diet, as fatal traffic accidents associated with driving by epileptic patients continued thereafter. The Road Traffic Act was again revised in June 2013 to incorporate punitive clauses with regard to those with difficulty in driving (not limited to epilepsy only but including various conditions and diseases) who made false claims that they had no driving difficulty in the procedure for obtaining or renewing their driver’s license. The Act on Punishment for Acts That Cause Death or Injury to Others by Driving a Car was enforced as a new statute in May 2014, with this revision marking a turning point. Five cases of traffic accidents involved with epileptic patients are presented in this paper in order to explain the impact of these accidents on the 2013 legal revision, as well as a subsequent trend of legal penalties being toughened.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01603354
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 25 2016 12:00PM