When you can drive a car or motorcycle depends on the type of seizures you have. As well as meeting the specific driving rules for your type of seizures, you must also meet the following conditions:
- As far as you are able, you follow your doctor’s advice about your treatment and check-ups for epilepsy and
- The driving agency is satisfied that as a driver you are not likely to be a source of danger to the public
An explanation of the terms used on this page
A seizure:For the purposes of licensing the driving agencies treat more than one seizure within a 24 hour period as a single seizure.
Provoked seizure:A seizure that happened at the time of a physical trauma or injury to your body, or within a week of a trauma or injury to your brain.
Unprovoked seizure:Any seizure that is not provoked. Most seizures in epilepsy are unprovoked. Even if you have seizures triggered by a specific thing, for example lack of sleep, they would still be classed as unprovoked.
Use our online tool to find out when you can drive, or choose from the following list to read the rule for your type of seizure.
- I only have seizures when I’m awake, and they affect my awareness
- I only have seizures when I’m awake, and they don’t affect my awareness
- I only have seizures when I’m asleep
- I have seizures when I’m awake and when I'm asleep
- I’ve had my first ever unprovoked seizure
- I’ve had a provoked seizure
If you have seizures when you’re awake, and they affect your awareness, you will need to be seizure free before you can drive. You are allowed to drive when you have been seizure free for at least 12 months. The 12 month seizure-free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure.
If you have seizures that don’t affect your awareness, you might be allowed to drive even if you continue having seizures. The driving agency would need to be satisfied that:
- You remain fully alert and able to react during your seizures and
- Your seizures don’t affect your ability to control the vehicle and
- You have been having this type of seizure for at least 12 months and
- You have never had any other type of unprovoked seizure
Seizures that don’t affect your awareness are often called simple partial or focal aware seizures. But even if you have been diagnosed with this type of seizure it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to drive. The driving agency will need a detailed description of your seizures before they make a decision.
If your seizures always start when you’re asleep, you might be allowed to drive even if you continue having them. They don’t need to be at night. A seizure that starts during a daytime nap also counts as a sleep seizure.
Before they allow you to drive, the driving agency would need to be satisfied that:
- You’ve never had an awake seizure and
- You’ve been having sleep seizures for at least 12 months. The 12 months applies from the date of your first seizure
If your seizures sometimes happen when you're awake and sometimes when you're asleep, you can drive when:
- You’ve been free of both awake and sleep seizures for at least 12 months
If you stop having awake seizures, but you still have sleep seizures, you can drive when:
- You’ve been having sleep seizures only for at least 3 years. The 3 years applies from the date of your first sleep seizure after your last awake seizure
If you’ve had your first ever unprovoked seizure the driving agency is likely to class it as an isolated seizure. If so, they may allow you to drive 6 months after the seizure, as long as you don’t have any others.
If your doctor thinks you may have an increased risk of having further seizures (for example because tests have shown a possible cause in your brain or epileptic activity on your EEG), you will need to be seizure free for 12 months before you can drive.
If your doctor thinks your seizure was provoked, and the driving agency agrees, they will look at your case on an individual basis. They will let you know when you can drive. If you’ve no history of unprovoked seizures you will usually need to be seizure free for 6 months before the driving agency allows you to drive.
However, you are likely to need 12 months off driving if:
- You’ve had any unprovoked seizures in the past or
- There’s evidence that you are at increased risk of having further seizures. For example, tests show scarring or epileptic activity in your brain
For information about which seizures may be classed as provoked contact Epilepsy Action, or see DVLA’s Assessing fitness to drive guide for medical professionals, Appendix B.
If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank DVLA for contributing to this information.
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated March 2019To be reviewed March 2022