Driving and epilepsy in the UK: the rules

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.

The law says that if you hold a driving licence, or want to start driving for the first time, you must tell the driving agency about your epilepsy. In England, Scotland and Wales you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). In Northern Ireland you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

Some people believe that if you have epilepsy, you will never be allowed to hold a driving licence. But for many people with epilepsy this isn't true. Find out more by clicking on the links below.

When do I need to stop driving?

When can I drive?

What are the rules if I'm changing or withdrawing my epilepsy medicine?

How do I get my licence back or apply for a first licence?

What can I do if I'm unhappy with the driving agency's decision?

Will my epilepsy affect my motor insurance?

Can I get help with travel costs and work?

Can I drive for a living when I have epilepsy?

Code: 
B005.07

Epilepsy Action would like to thank DVLA for his contributing to this information.

This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.

  • Updated March 2019
    To be reviewed March 2022

Comments: read the 14 comments or add yours

Comments

I have had various mri scans and recently a EEG..Which came back clear.Ihave never had a siezure..but what i would call episodes which i believe to be related to my Migraine.Can my Doctor allow me to resume driving.Or what must i do .Regards Barry

Submitted by Barry Blacklock

Hi Barry – The driving rules vary for different medical conditions. The DVLA will ask for medical information from your doctor to help them to make their decision about when you can drive. So it may be best to talk to your doctor about this.

Regards

Mags

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Mags - Epilepsy...

Mags Thank you for you advice .Seeing Doctor very soon Regards Barry

Submitted by Barry Blacklock

I have a friend who was diagnosed with epilepsy two years ago and, on the advice of her doctor, she put a SORN on her car with DVLA and has not driven to this date. Because she stopped driving altogether she did not inform DVLA although I believe she should. Can she inform them now and surrender her licence and if so, can she still apply to get it back as her condition dictates?

Kind regards
Scott

Submitted by Scott

Hi Scot

Thanks for your message.
It’s good that your friend stopped driving as her doctor advised her. The driving laws state she must let the DVLA know if diagnosed with a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability. This includes seizures.

Your friend will need to complete the declaration of voluntary surrender form, and return this with her licence. She can explain her situation to DVLA in a cover letter.

We have heard from others in a similar situation as your friend, who stopped driving but didn’t return their licence to the DVLA. And we have not heard of anyone being prosecuted when they have updated the DVLA.

 

Once your friend meets the medical standards for driving, and her records are updated, she should be able reapply.

Regards

Tove

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Tove - Epilepsy...

Hi Tove
Many thanks for your reply. I shall inform her of your comments and advise that she informs DVLA. Kind Regards
Scott

Submitted by Scott

Hello
I am trying to reapply for my licence, with the agreement of my neurologist, having been seizure free for the 10 months required to start the reapplication process.
I know that I should complete the DVLA's D1 form, but on the DVLA website, I cannot select this form to complete online, nor can I select this form / pack to be sent to my address (you can select many other forms, but not the one that I need!). Additionally I can't find the suggested medical questionnaire to expedite the process.
I have emailed the DVLA (through the 'contact us' section), but received an automated email back saying that they could not reply due to the 'sensitive information' of the request ...
Help!!
Any advice greatly received.
Many thanks.

Submitted by Kate Smith

Further to my query of a few minutes ago ...
I have just found the Medical Declaration form on a link from this page ... thank you!
But I still can't select the D1 form .....

Submitted by Kate Smith

Hi, things are working differently with the DVLA at the moment. You can get the D1 application form from your local Post Offices. We have a link to download the FEP1 medical questionnaire on our website https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/applying-for-your-licence. I hope this helps move thing forward for you.

Regards

Diane
Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane - Epileps...

Thanks Diane
It seems a bit crazy that whilst in lock down we have to go to the Post Office to collect a form that we could previously download!!
But thank you so much for clarifying this for me; really appreciate your help and very speedy reply.
Regards to all.
Kate

Submitted by Kate Smith

Hi guys
Ok long shot I know lol...
I'm 48 fit free and on meds now for 20 years nocturnal fits three times. Fully assessed at neurology years ago and no longer attend any hospital appointments etc..
I have a full UK driving license UpTo 3.5 tons including a towing license
I went through my 1 year full medical procedure of assessed visiting over five years to now have a 40 year license...
My question is can I somehow apply for a license UpTo 7.5 tons or now apply through a medical for a hgv my fits were 20 years ago only 3 nocturnal fits and are now controlled
Many thanks Chris

Submitted by Chris

I’ve just got my provisional licence this year. First time in 25yrs my epilepsy is stable thanks to a great medication change. What I’d like to know is, obviously I’ve told the DVLA I have epilepsy when I applied. Do I also have to tell my driving instructor/school, or can it go unmentioned? Thanks!

Submitted by Dixie
Hi Dixie
 
I'm pleased to hear your epilepsy is controlled so you can now learn to drive. We are not aware of you having to tell your driving instructor/school about your epilepsy. If someone has a disability or an illness that may affect cognition or physical handling  of the vehicle they would need to discuss this before starting lessons. 
 
But if the instructor does ask if you have any medical conditions, then you would have to tell them about your epilepsy. 
 
Good luck with the driving. 
 
Regards
Diane
Helpline Team
Submitted by Diane - Epileps...

Thank you very much Diane. That’s a great help 🙂

Submitted by Dixie

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