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Driving

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 you need to stop driving and how to report your epilepsy to the driving agency

When can I drive?

Find out when you can drive using our online tool

The rules for driving a car or motorcycle (group 1 licence)

The rules for driving a bus, coach or lorry (group 2 licence)

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

Rules if you're changing or withdrawing your epilepsy medicine (group 1 licence)

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

How to apply or reapply for a driving licence

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

Appealing against decisions made by the driving agency

Will my epilepsy affect my motor insurance?

Information about motor insurance for people with epilepsy

Can I get help with travel costs and work?

Help with travel costs and work when you can't drive because of your epilepsy

Can I drive for a living when I have epilepsy?

Information about driving for a living when you have epilepsy

Code: 
B005.06

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Ed Foxell at DVLA for his contribution to this information.

Ed Foxell has declared no conflict of interest

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated April 2018
    To be reviewed April 2020

Comments: read the 16 comments or add yours

Comments

Hi I have sleep epilepsy and am allowed to drive, my condition is under control and has been for over 15 years. Yet I am for some reason not allowed to drive a lorry. Do u know why this is? Or if there is anything I can do about it, I would have to fall asleep at the wheel first to actually have a seizure.

Submitted by Chris on

Hello Chris

The group 2 driving rules do not make clear the exact reasons that a person who has sleep seizures only may not be able to drive a lorry if their seizures are well controlled. What they do say though is that for a person to be granted a group 2 licence, their risk of having a seizure must be 2% or less. They say this is generally because of the size and weight of the vehicle and the length of time an occupational driver typically spends at the wheel.

Also, you would need to not be taking any epilepsy medicines for a 10 year seizure free period.

Maybe you could get in touch with the DVLA to ask them to explain this rule further for you.

Karen

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi,
I have epilepsy and am not allowed to drive. Am I allowed to keep my provisional liscence to use as official ID as long as I do not drive?
If not, what alternative official ID can I use that is not a passport (preferably in card form)?
Lucy

Submitted by Lucy Fitzpatric... on

Hi Lucy 

Our understanding is that legally you have to surrender your licence if you are no longer able to drive. You could always double check that, as you want it for Id. But I think they will say you need to surrender it.

Some people find a citizen card useful in some circumstances, though not everywhere recognises it. Hope that is of some help.

Regards 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi,

I had to give up my licence after my first seizure in January '16 (which I didn't have to give until March when I was told to inform the DVLA). I haven't re-applied for it however in June this year I had another seizure. Would I have to inform the DVLA again like last time?

Submitted by Liam on

Hello Liam 

You do not need to tell the DVLA every time you have had a seizure. The main time they would want to know about this is when you re-apply for your driving licence. This is so that they can check whether you meet the driving rules at that time. 

Karen

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi, my son has been driving for over two years now, seizure free for over three years. He had a routine hospital check up yesterday and mentioned to his doctor that every few months he gets a twitch in his arm, nothing more, no other symptoms.
His doctor phoned DVLA who have told him because of his type of epilepsy (idiopathic) he must not drive. He is now in the process of filling in the FEP1 form to provide them with all the details, but what I'm wondering is whether there is any research which suggests someone suffering from these twitches is more likely to have a seizure or lose consciousness?
He has never had them as a precursor to a seizure, when he had seizures previously there was never any warning.
Kind regards - Jane

Submitted by Jane on

Hi Jane 

I am guessing that will have been quite a shock for your son.

It seems likely the doctor thinks what is happening for your son is a myoclonic jerk or a focal seizure.

If so, he will need to be seizure free, including from the twitching, for 12 months before he can apply for his licence again. This is because DVLA consider the risk connected with a myoclonic jerk whilst driving to be too high.

It’s only minor compensation but I would like to check your son knows about the free bus pass and the Disabled Persons Railcard. He is entitled to apply for these because he would be refused a driving licence.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Is there a DVLA approved medical expert assessment that I can pay for Ive had an unexplained seizure 2 years ago and a collapse last year and obviously license was revoked. The waiting time for the general neurology department is 12 weeks. I had tests at the time and there was nothing unusual on the MRI, CT, ECG, Liver function test and bloods were all normal. I just need a neurologist who can give me the all clear and is recognised (and has access to my medical records) by the DVLA Im a carer to my uncle and my partner and have a 5 year old I know safety is paramount and i have to be safe to drive i cant afford tonnes of delays waiting for appointment, the Neuro to send to gp then the GP to dvla

Submitted by Nina on

Hi Nina

DVLA will want to be in touch with the specialist who has been treating you. DVLA do have a medical team who make the final decision on whether someone is fit to drive. They will bear in mind any information given by your specialist.

The epilepsy and driving laws say that after a single seizure you must stop driving for at least 6 months. After a second seizure you must stop driving for 12 months. Epilepsy is defined as recurrent seizures.

Even if your collapse was thought to be a seizure, if you have had no episodes of altered consciousness for 12 months since then, you will meet the epilepsy and driving laws. This means you will be able to apply for your licence back. Exactly how soon you can do that and when you can theoretically start driving again will depend on whether you surrendered your licence or had it revoked.

We aren’t aware of DVLA approved doctors.

The problem with diagnosing epilepsy is that it is possible to have a clear EEG, a clear MRI, normal blood and still have epilepsy. So the passage of time is the thing which is the best measure of whether someone is at risk of further seizures.

I hope this information helps.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

 

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

Hi. I’m totally in bits. I cannot apply for my driving licence until October. I thought that as long as you had only had awake seizures and no loss of consciousness that you could drive as long as you had these for 12 months and didn’t have anything more serious? Using this theory I should have been allowed to reapply in April?

Submitted by Kayleigh shiel on

Hi

 

There is a law relating to seizures which do not affect your consciousness: https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/can-i-drive

But DVLA have to investigate and agree that this fits their description before they will consider if they will renew your licence.

If you think you fit that description do feel free to give us a ring. It may be easier to talk it through.  And sometimes DVLA make mistakes. We could check the law for you.

You can ring us on the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Regards

 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I have just lost my licence for having a fit after 20years. My insurance has my dad as name driver, can my dad still drive me around in my car for the next year, as i cant drive it.? is my insurance policy still valid. Have notified dvla,?

Submitted by karen on

 

Dear Karen,

 

Thank you for your message.

 

I am sorry to hear that your epilepsy has caused you to lose your licence.

 

As your insurance is based on your driving licence, it will now be invalid.

 

Some insurers might allow the main policyholder to be transferred to your dad. You would need to call your insurer to ask them if they can do this. 

 

However, some insurers will require that you also transfer the car’s ownership into his name too.

https://www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle

 

It could be worth shopping around and calling some insurers to see what they can do.

 

I hope this information helps.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. We are open Monday to Friday 8.30am until 5.30pm.

Kind regards

 

Vicky

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi after12 yrs of epilepsy diagnosed 2 mild strokes and at that time epilepsy which the NHS at that time never picked up I took Tegretol which helped the seizures decline to 3 in the day 2 at night a week. I was taken off them now after saying it is none epileptic. With the 6500 taken off me, my seizures have increased to average 14 a day and 6 at night that last up to 4min being very confused, being sick a lot. I just want to know will this ever stop. As a professor noticed my scaring of which was never reported. Professor states they are two old ones but due to strain it as now provoked my sensory with the seizures of tight crouch. It as burst some brain parts that now I am Sevier blind from total deaf due to bursts mute that side of right side sensory damage. I just want to know will this ease eventually My professor as put me on epilepsy which as now reduced but just waiting for this to finish with my Neurology now closed my case and a professor taking on my situation I just can not understand is it none epileptic from one hospital or have epileptic that reduce my seizures but the sensory is all damaged through heavy none seizures that are all confusing. I know am in a wheelchair with no sensation and done all tests from my professor saying they are no feeling after a large none epileptic seizure? I will be having more tests due to the continued vomit that as caused the throat not to swallow only a syringe into my stomach. The brain sensory damaged area. Will these seizures stop thank you? My support worker David lip reads and she types my documents and codes my hand.

Submitted by Geoff Bosworth on

Dear Geoff,

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been through such a tough journey.

It’s difficult to say whether your seizure will ever stop completely. Sometimes seizures can be very difficult to control. And for some people, treatment can only make them less frequent and/or less severe.  Unfortunately, treatment doesn’t always stop seizures entirely.  If your seizures are difficult to control and the still happen even with treatment it can be challenging and frustrating.

The most important thing is that you have the right diagnosis and are  getting the right treatment for you. And we have some information about this and different types of epilepsy treatment on our website that you might find helpful.  I’m not sure whether the doctors think your seizures are epileptic, non-epileptic or a mixture of both. But if some of your seizures are non-epileptic seizures these won’t be helped by epilepsy medicines and would need a different type of treatment. And we have a webpage with more information on non-epileptic seizures and how they’re treated. 

I hope with the right diagnosis and the right treatment that things can improve for you. 

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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