Published on March 30, 2016
Driving when you know you are epileptic or have occasional seizures is extremely dangerous for both the individual and for the public. Each state has their own specific laws, but people with epilepsy are required to report their condition to their State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Some states require the doctor to contact the DMV. Other states require the patient to sign a simple form at the time of application for a license or at the time of license renewal, declaring that they will notify the DMV of changes in their health condition or driving ability. When a driver who already holds a driver’s license is newly diagnosed with epilepsy, that person is responsible to notify the proper authority.
Individuals with uncontrolled seizures have a higher risk of an accident if they drive, which is why doctors advise patients with seizures that they should not drive until their seizures are under control. In Florida, drivers who are seizure-free for 6 months may be licensed if a physician feels it is safe. Those who are seizure-free for 2 years or longer do not need a physician certificate. Seizures are unpredictable and even a small seizure at the wrong time can lead to an injury or death.
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge sentenced Rodney Corsiglia,52, to 33 years and 8 months to life in prison, for having suffered a seizure while driving and causing a fatal car crash. Corsiglia must also pay $1,000 to the state fund for victims, $9,208 to the family of one of the victims and $317,749 to the family of the second victim. After the conclusion of a 14-day trial, a jury convicted Corsiglia of second-degree murder and vehicular manslaughter on June 4, 2014.
Rodney Corsiglia, 51, was driving on a suspended license and over the speed limit on July 28, 2012, when he had a seizure, causing him to crash into the back of a car stopped at a red light. The accident instantly killed two of the passengers in the stopped car and injured two victims in a third car. The victims who died were fathers of a total of five children. Corsiglia knew he had a seizure disorder and was taking medication for it. Prosecutors said the seizures caused him to be involved in seven car crashes between 2002 and 2011. Even if a driver takes medication for epilepsy or occasional seizures, the dangers remain, as many of these medication come with multiple side effects, such as drowsiness and difficulty focusing.