In the wake of successive cases of fatal accidents caused by patients behind the wheel whose driving was likely to be hindered due to paroxysmal diseases, including epilepsy, there has been an outcry from victims demanding stricter criminal penalties against the perpetrators due to negligence. As a result of this action, a revised Road Traffic Act was put into effect in Japan on June 14, 2013. This act established new penal provisions against any person who provides false statements on his/her medical condition(s) when acquiring or renewing a driver’s license.
In this paper, the social circumstances will be introduced regarding road traffic in Japan when the Road Traffic Act, the origin of today’s revised Road Traffic Act, was enacted in 1960. An overview of the reasons behind the enactment of the original act will be provided. Additionally, the handling of patients with “provisions for disqualification,” whose driving is likely to be hindered due to paroxysmal diseases, including “epilepsy,” will be reviewed. This handling attracted repeated controversy during the enactment of the original act and will also be reviewed. One significant change in wording from “absolute causes for disqualification” in the Road Traffic Act of 1960 to “relative causes for disqualification” in the Revised Road Traffic Act of 2001 also will be discussed from a medical sociology perspective. Finally, the social status and socio-economic position of drivers with paroxysmal diseases, as it pertains to influences on lawmakers, will be discussed.Free PDF Download
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G. Imataka, S. Yoshihara
Sociological histories on epilepsy as “causes for disqualification” stipulated in the Japanese Road Traffic Act of 1960 and Revised Road Traffic Act of 2001
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 21 - N. 13