These pages are about driving laws in the UK. If you are looking for information about driving laws in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.
These web pages are currently being updated.
New rules about driving and epilepsy
The new rules on driving and epilepsy for the UK become law on March 8 2013.
These changes will not affect Northern Ireland until later this year.
For most people with epilepsy, you will continue to need to be seizure-free for a year before you can apply or re-apply for your licence.
The changes to the driving and epilepsy rules
Until 8 March 2013 you had to have a three year established pattern of sleep seizures only to be able to keep your licence, even if you had further sleep seizures.
From 8 March 2013 it will only be necessary to have a one year established pattern of sleep seizures, provided you have only ever had sleep seizures. But if you have ever had awake seizures, you will still need to have a three year established pattern of sleep seizures only.
Seizures that don’t affect your consciousness
You might have heard these called simple partial or focal seizures. But they have to be seizures where you remain fully aware and able to act.
Until 8 March 2013 you could not drive if you were having any type of focal (partial) seizure.
From 8 March 2013 you may be able to apply or re-apply for your licence if your seizures do not affect your consciousness or ability to drive. You will have to have a one year established pattern of seizures which do not affect your consciousness. And you must never have had any other type of seizure.
Changing your epilepsy medicine
Until 8 March 2013 if you had a seizure because of a change in the dose or type of your epilepsy medicine, you had to be seizure-free for a year before you could apply or re-apply for your licence.
From 8 March 2013 there are new rules for if you have a seizure because a doctor has advised you to change the dose or type of your epilepsy medicine. If, during this time, you have a seizure, then you go back to the original dose of medicine (on which you had been seizure-free), you only have to be seizure-free for six months before you can apply or re-apply for your licence.
It will still be necessary to fulfil all of the usual driving requirements (for example about eyesight) and you must always tell the driving agencies if your situation changes.
In this section
- The driving agencies
- Driving licence categories
- Driving licences and the epilepsy driving standards
- Stopping driving
- Informing the driving agencies
- Applying and reapplying for a driving licence
- Driving for a living
- Motor insurance
- Help with transport if you can’t drive because of your epilepsy
- Contact details for the driving agencies
These web pages give information about driving for people with epilepsy in the UK. It covers the rules for holding a driving licence and explains how the agencies that issue driving licences work. It also tells you what help with transport costs is available, if you can’t drive because of your epilepsy.
This information was written by Epilepsy Action’s advice and information team, with guidance and input from people living with epilepsy and experts at DVLA and DVA.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank staff at DVLA and DVA for their contribution to this information.
The DVLA and DVA have no conflict of interest.
Updated May 2011To be reviewed May 2013