Numerous warnings not to drive issued to an epileptic motorist went unheeded and led to catastrophe and a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence last week.
Stuart Lusher, 56, was also given a lifetime ban from driving after admitting causing death by dangerous driving at Kingston Crown Court.
He had stopped at a red light in Merton, south London when he suffered an epileptic seizure, which caused him to drive onto the pavement and collide with a pedestrian.
The victim, 48-year-old Phil Westnott, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A court heard how Lusher had a history of epilepsy, as well as chronic sleep apnoea, and had ignored medical warnings from professionals not to drive.
Despite this, he had driven his wife’s car to visit her in hospital where she was gravely ill.
The legal basis of fitness to drive in the UK lies in the European Commission’s Third Directive on driving licences (2006/126/EC), the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (as amended).
According to the DVLA, epileptic seizures are the most common cause of collapse at the wheel and anyone suffering from the condition must notify the licensing agency and not drive.
Driving will be prohibited until a medical assessment can determine whether there is an increased risk of further seizures.
Lusher’s case has prompted the Epilepsy Society to urge people to inform the DVLA and to stop driving if they have a seizure.
Its medical director Professor Sander says: “If someone has uncontrolled seizures they are obliged to notify the DVLA and stop driving. If they refuse, the doctor can break patient confidentiality and tell medical advisers at the DVLA. This is because they are not only putting themselves at risk, they are endangering members of the public. The doctor should always inform the patient that they will be notifying the DVLA themselves.”
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