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of everyone affected by epilepsy

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?

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: 
B005.05

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 March 2017
    To be reviewed March 2018

Comments: read the 15 comments or add yours

Comments

I suffer from epilepsy but not had any seizures for over 3 years, could it be possible for me to learn to drive?

Submitted by Graeme Thompson on

Hello Graeme
Driving rules can be complicated so it is great that you are looking in to this for yourself.

Many people with epilepsy drive. As long as you meet the requirements stated in driving law, there is no reason that you would not be able to drive.

In general, to be allowed a provisional driving licence, you will need to meet the epilepsy driving rules. The rules you will need to meet will depend upon the type of seizures you have. You may find it helpful to check out our rules for group 1 driving licences, which breaks down the rules using the type of seizures as a guide. If you have been seizure free for 3 years then you meet these rules.

I hope that this has made things a little clearer for you. As I said the rules can be complicated, so if you would like to talk more about this, or if we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Karen, Epilepsy... on

My ex partner won't let me drive with the baby
Haven't had a fit for
15 years due to medication
Going to court over this any advice on what to say about epilepsy defence

Submitted by Kevin Holden on

Hello Kevin

This sounds like a difficult situation to find yourself in.

Driving rules say that a person needs to meet the driving rules in order to be allowed to drive. In general, these say that a person must be 12 months seizure free. If you meet these driving rules, then you should be allowed to drive. 15 years seizure free is very positive.

We are not knowledgeable about family law, so are not able to offer any guidance on whether there are reasons in family law why a person may not be able to drive with a child in the car when they have a medical condition. If you have not already, it may be worth you trying to get legal advice from a solicitor specialising in family law. You can search for details of these on the Law Society website.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Karen
Epilepsy Action Advice & Information Team

Submitted by tpottinger on

Hi,
I have submitted my paper work to the DVLA to get my licence back. Ive been 12 months seizure free, and my only previous seizures were due to change in brands of my Keppra and Lamictal. I had had my licence for over 10yrs before I developed Epilepsy. Do you know what is the most common type of licence I am likely to get if they allow me to drive. Is it usually just 1yr, or could I be hopeful that I will get 3yrs?

Submitted by Helen Taft on

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