Who is driving and who is prone to have traffic accidents? A systematic review and meta-analysis among people with seizures

Ying Xu*, Zien Zhou, Janani Shanthosh, Maree L. Hackett, Craig S. Anderson, Nick Glozier, Ernest Somerville

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Epilepsy influences the ability to drive. We aimed to systematically summarize factors associated with driving, holding a driver's license, and traffic accidents among people with seizures. Material and methods: Eight databases were searched (from their inception to 27 June 2018). We included all published observational studies, except for case reports and studies with fewer than 50 participants. Pooled mean differences and pooled risk ratios (pRRs) with corresponding confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using random effects. Results: Data were available from 18 studies, reporting a wide range of factors. There were frequent biases associated with cross-sectional study designs, selection bias, poor statistical quality, small samples, and lack of validation of models. The following six variables were consistently associated with driving: male gender (pRR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.23 to 1.64), being in paid work (pRR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.46 to 2.03), married (pRR: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.01 to 1.57), older age at seizure onset or diagnosis (pooled mean difference: 4.83; 95% CI: 0.48 to 9.18 years), less frequent seizures (fewer than monthly, pRR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.12 to 1.56), and taking one or no antiepileptic drug (pRR: 1.34; 95% CI: 1.09 to 1.63). Lower seizure frequency was also protective for avoiding traffic accidents (pRR: 0.26; 95% CI: 0.10 to 0.66). Discussion: Stable multivariate models to predict driving or traffic accidents among people with seizures have not yet been developed. Current evidence shows that the likelihood of driving is associated with demographic and epilepsy-related factors, while the risk of traffic accidents is associated with seizure frequency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-257
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Driving
  • Epidemiology
  • Epilepsy
  • Public health
  • Seizure


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