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Rules for group 1 driving licences

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.

Am I allowed to drive with a group 1 licence?

Group 1 licences allow you to drive motorcycles, scooters, cars; vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes; vehicles with 1-8 passenger seats, car plus trailer, tractors, road rollers, tracked vehicles, electric vehicles, mopeds, sit-on lawn mowers and children’s motor scooters.

When you are allowed to drive depends on the type of seizures that you have.

I only ever have seizures when I am awake, and they affect my consciousness

If you have seizures while awake that affect your consciousness, you are allowed to drive when you have been seizure free for a year. The one year’s seizure-free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure. You must also meet the following conditions.

  • As far as your 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.

I only ever have seizures when I am awake, but they do NOT affect my 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.

If you have these types of seizures, you do not necessarily have to be seizure free to be allowed to drive. You may be allowed to drive once you have at least a one-year pattern of seizures that do not affect your consciousness. And you have to only ever have had seizures that don’t affect your consciousness.

Even if you have been diagnosed with simple partial or focal seizures, this does not automatically mean you will meet this particular driving entitlement. The driving agency need a detailed description of what happens for you, before they can make a decision.

I only ever have seizures when I am asleep

If you have seizures when you are asleep, you are allowed to drive when:

  • you have been seizure free for a year or
  • you have at least a one-year pattern of seizures while asleep only, and you have never had seizures when awake or
  • you have had awake seizure in the past, but you now have at least a three-year pattern of seizures while asleep only.

You must also meet the following conditions.

  • As far as your 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.

I have seizures when I am both awake and asleep

If you were awake when you had your last seizure
You are allowed to drive when you have been seizure free for a year . The one year’s seizure-free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure. 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.

If you were asleep when you had your last seizure
You are allowed to drive when:

  • you have been seizure free for a year or
  • you have at least a three-year pattern of seizures while asleep only, and any seizures you had when awake were over three years ago.

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.

I have had an isolated seizure

If you have a seizure after being seizure free for at least five years, the driving agency may consider this to be an isolated seizure.

This can only apply on one occasion.

If you have had an isolated seizure you may be allowed to drive when:

  • you have been seizure free for at least six months and 
  • your consultant thinks it is unlikely you will have another seizure and
  • the driving agency is satisfied that as a driver you are not likely to be a source of danger to the public.

I have had a provoked seizure

The circumstances in which the driving agency will define a seizure as provoked are very limited. For example a provoked seizure may be a seizure at the time of a stroke or mini- stroke, or in the following 24 hours. It might also be if a doctor gave someone a medicine that is known to possibly trigger seizures.

If you have a history of seizures, it is much less likely that the driving agency would decide a seizure was provoked.

A seizure caused by alcohol or lack of sleep would not be classed as provoked.

If you think the driving agency may class your seizure as provoked, you should first talk to your doctor. Your doctor can contact a medical adviser at the driving agency to find out more on your behalf. If the driving agency believes your seizure could be classed as provoked, they will look at your case individually. Based on a doctor’s advice, the driving agency will advise you when you can start driving again.

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We can provide references and information on the source material we use to write our epilepsy advice and information pages. Please contact our Epilepsy Helpline by email at helpline@epilepsy.org.uk.
Code: 
B005.03

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.

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

  • Updated June 2013
    To be reviewed June 2016

Comments: read the 85 comments or add yours

Comments

I had meningitis as a baby,which when I reached 16 years of age I had my 1st grand mal, had several,then had a gap of 35 years,
the seizures were not all grand mal, but over the past 18 months I have had slight twitches in my sleep which the consultant thinks is seizure related.
I was saddened by DVLA recently as they say I have to wait until April 2014 before getting my licence back is it worth appealing and would it cost me for legal advice or should my consultant write to them.
Any answers?

Submitted by eve on

Hi Eve

If you decide to go ahead with an appeal, it’s really important to get legal advice first. People very rarely win appeals around epilepsy regulations. If you don’t win, you have to pay the driving agency’s costs. It can be a timely and costly experience. If you want to appeal against the decision made by the driving agencies, we explain the procedure on our webpage.

It must seem difficult when you have been used to having a car. To help whilst you can’t drive, due to your epilepsy you are entitled to a free bus pass as well as the Disabled Persons Rail Card. I realise it doesn’t take away the difficulty of using public transport. Many people do find ways of getting around when they’ve looked at all their local options. I hope this applies to you.

Whilst you are not able to drive due to your epilepsy, if traveling to and from work, or traveling while at work, is difficult, you may be entitled to help with the additional costs This comes under the Access to Work scheme. You apply by ringing the number for England, Scotland or Wales, as listed on our website.

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi, After changing medication in August last year I seem to have come up with the right combination and had been seizure free since 01/09/12. But I forgot to take my morning medication on 10/04/13 and towards the end of a session of intense exercise had a seizure. I have had none since. I consider the epilepsy to be under very good control but my forgetfulness has cost me 7.5 months in re-applying for my license. My Neurologist said there would be no harm in re-applying but any regulations I can find suggest an isolated seizure needs to be once in every 5 years rather than 12 months. I would welcome any advise. Thanks

Submitted by Richard Clough on

Hi,

I had a seizure 6 years ago. After investigations and a year off driving with no further seizures I returned to driving. I have recently been going through IVF and had a single episode of seizures again a few weeks ago. I have, as required, surrendered my licence and the DVLA are investigating as usual. I have had some mixed advice on how long I will be unable to drive though. I am not on medication as it is possible that the drugs I was taking provoked the seizure. My epilepsy specialist nurse has told me that it will be six months before I can drive again as the previous seizure was over 5 years ago. The DVLA also told me this when I called to enquire, so I am hoping they are right. However, the neurologist said 12 months? Is he just behind with regulations or am I borderline for falling into both sets of rules? I should point out that at the time the neurologist wasnt aware of the full extent of the medication I was on and the possible side effects as I was still a bit groggy in the hospital at the time.

Any advice is welcomed.

Thanks in advance

Submitted by Louise on

Hi Louise

There have been changes to the epilepsy and driving rules in the past year, depending on the type of seizures you have had so that might have a bearing on the information the nurse gave you. Here is the updated information.

In terms of whether your seizure was provoked or not, I think you are right about the neurologist not realizing that your IVF treatment could trigger a seizure. At the end of the day, DVLA will decide whether it should be considered a provoked seizure or not. To do that though, they have to consider that it is an event that will not happen again. So, if you are going to have the same IVF treatment again, you may have to wait 12 months before your licence is returned.

If you want to discuss this further, please feel free to call the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Kathy

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

Hi there just a quick question I have not had a seizure for over a year now and they are controlled with medication and I would really like to start driving as soon as possible so what I would like to know is if im allowed and if so how do I go about it to apply for it do I need to see my doctor or specialist. Thanks chris.

Submitted by Christopher chapman on

Hi Chris 

It’s great to hear that you have been seizure free for over a year.

The driving rules say that you are allowed to drive when you have been seizure free for a year. The one year’s seizure-free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure. 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.

There are two forms you will need to fill in. If you live in England, Scotland and Wales,  you have to complete a D1 form and a medical questionnaire. If you live in Northern Ireland you have to complete a DL1 form and a medical questionnaire. The driving agency will make any necessary contact with your doctors.

Here is our information about how to reapply for your licence

If we can be of any more help please feel free to contact us again either by email or the epilepsy helpline freephone number 0808 800 5050

Kind regards

Vicky

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Vicky on

Hi
I had my first seizure in Feb and second in March 2013, both were grand mal. I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour after an MRI in May, and started medication.
In August I reported a feeling of deja vu - a mild form of the aura I had experienced before both of my seizures, and my medication was increased.
Today I saw a specialist nurse who said that the auras are a form of seizure and therefore she said I cannot reapply for my driving licence until August 2014 rather than March 2014. I feel this is really unfair, could you tell me if this is correct please?
I've had deja vu before I has seizures. If this is correct, what happens when I do get my licence back; if it happens again, will I have to surrender it? It seems like nonsense to me.
I hope you can help.
Many thanks
A

Submitted by Andrea W on

Hi Andrea

Yes your epilepsy nurse is correct. An aura is often another word for a focal seizure. There are new driving rules for seizures which do not affect your consciousness. But this rule is only applies to people who have not had any other type of seizure.

So you will need to be seizure free for 12 months before you can re-apply for your licence. If you had another aura or any other type of seizure after you got your licence back, you would need to stop driving again for 12 months.

Sorry that’s not the news you wanted. But it is the law.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

My daughter has had Epilepsy for 25 years. Her last awake fit was September2011. She started nocturnal fits in Feb 2011 and had a mix of fits between these dates. Since September 2011 she has only had nocturnal fits. It appears that she can't drive again until either Feb 2014 or September 2014. DVLA are giving mixed advice so they don't seem clear. We feel like Confused.com! It seems very hash if she has to wait until September 14. Anyone help clarify?

Submitted by Maureen on

Hi Maureen

The driving regulations can be very confusing. So I hope I can help you understand your daughter’s situation.

There are two regulations that hopefully will help your daughter back to driving.

The first is to be free from all seizures (both awake and asleep) for a year. The one year’s seizure-free period applies from the date of her most recent seizure.

If she continues to have sleep seizures, she will not qualify for the twelve months seizure free regulation, but she could qualify for the sleep only seizures regulation.

People who are only having seizures in their sleep but have had awake seizure in the past, can apply for a driving licence when they have a three-year pattern of seizures while asleep only.

With this regulation, once she has got her new licence, she can drive as long as her seizures are in her sleep. Any awake seizures and she would have to surrender her licence again. You may think three years is harsh, but research shows after three years of sleep seizures, the likelihood of the pattern changing is slight. 

I hope this has helped. If you’d like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact  the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi, I had been seizure free for many years and then during pregnancy with my daughter who was born in 2006 i has period where i had seizures but was prescribed Levetiracetam and had been seizure free until recently. I am prescribed Clobazem for times when my seizure threshold is low or when i feel an aura. Unfortunately recently i could not locate the clobazam , felt really dizzy and had a seizure. i know based on my personal history that had i had access to the Clobazam i would not have had the seizure and my medical practioner agrees with this. I am not driving but am hopeful that this may be seen as either a provoked or isolated incidence , what are your thoughts?

Submitted by Rachel on

Hi Rachael

It is possible to get a driving licence based on having sleep seizures only. You could get this if you had only ever had seizures while asleep, had never had any seizures while awake, and had an established pattern of sleep seizures only for 12 months, dated from the time of your first seizure.

Or you could get a driving licence based on having sleep seizures only, if you had had awake seizures in the past, but had an established pattern of sleep seizures only for the last three years.

The important thing is that you do need a special sleep seizure licence for this. A normal one would not be valid.

The driving laws can be a bit difficult to get your head round. Please feel free to ring our helpline if it would be easier to talk this through.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

Hi if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy and on medication then have another fit after years of being fit free. Would you lose your driving licence if you have only ever had a seizure when asleep?

Submitted by Lydia on

Hi Lydia

If you have only ever had sleep seizures in the past, it’s possible that you would be able to drive. However, it might depend on how many  years it’s been since your last seizure. You would need to contact the DVLA and they will decide what you need to do.

I hope this helps.

Rosanna

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

Hi Rachel.

I am sorry but it is very unlikely this will be seen as a provoked seizure. Not taking your epilepsy medicine, whatever the circumstances would not come within this definition.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Driving and provoked seizures: epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/driving-licences-group-1-rules

Submitted by JohnA on

I had a seizure in March in my sleep, only one I have had if I have another one for example in April next year in my sleep again would I have to give up my licence, someone told me that the year period of sleep seizues starts from your second one.

Any information would be great

Submitted by Rachael on

Hi there,
I have a question of different sort. My finance has been suffering from absent seizures for many years. We know that he cannot drive. We learned recently that people with epilepsy are eligible to have free bus travel but they need to have a refusal letter from DVLA. To have it, he has to apply for driving license first. Is it enough to send DVLA the filled FEP1 form, or other documents are required?

We would be grateful for any advice.

Kind regards
Agnes

Submitted by AGNES on

Hi Agnes

Your local council cannot demand you get a letter from the DVLA. In fact, the DVLA will not deal with such applications. Apart from in Scotland, there is no standard proof to apply for a bus pass. If you don’t live in Scotland, it would be advisable to talk to your council again to see what other type of proof they will consider.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

i have epilepsy and am nearly fit free for a year do i have to wait the hole year before i can apply for a provisional or can i get it in the mean time??

Submitted by tony on

Hi Tony

If you have epilepsy and want to learn to drive, you will need to be seizure-free for one year before you can apply.

Even if you have been seizure-free for a year, you still need to tell the DVLA about your epilepsy. You will need to fill in a standard application form and the DVLA will send you a form for more details about your epilepsy.

If possible, the DVLA will decide whether you can have a driving licence, based on the information you provide in the forms. If they need more information, they may contact your doctor as part of this process.

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

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

I had my first fit in march 2013 while sleeping, had test and they have all come back clear. I lost licence for 6 months and have now recieved it back. Jan 2014 I have had another one during my sleep. How long will I lose my licence for. When I first surrendered my licence they told me a year pattern in my sleep I can have it back but when speaking to dvla again they told me the year pattern of sleep seizures starts from the second seizure. Which is correct.

Submitted by rachael on

Hi Rachael

This doesn’t sound right. To our understanding, when you were diagnosis with epilepsy, the first seizure will have been taken into consideration as epilepsy (not a one off seizure as first suspected). Therefore, it would be twelve months from the date of the first seizure.

When you contact the DVLA again, go through to the medical department section.

Please do let us know the outcome of this.

You can contact me by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or phone our freephone helpline 0808 800 5050.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hiya - I was diagnosed with epilepsy at 19 after having recurrent seizures unexpectedly. I am now 21 and am now seizure clear for 1year and 1 month. I reapplied for my provisional licence in the 8 week window of my being one year clear last November yet my application was rejected because my neurologist said no. I have been stable on my medication and have adopted lifestyle changes to decrease the chances of me having a seizure. I want to reapply as I'm keen to learn how to drive! Do I have to reapply with all the forms? Or can I appeal now that I am 100% 1 year clear? Or do I have to speak to my neurologist? Sorry for so many questions and thank you!

Submitted by Becky on

Hi Becky

It’s important your doctor agrees you are fit to drive. Therefore you may wish to check they agree with you before doing a new application.  

The Post Office or DVLA will explain which forms you need to use.

Hope all goes well.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi,

I have had one isolated seizure and told to stop driving for six months

Does an abnormal MRI scan necessarily mean that someone cannot drive after the six months is over? I have had scan which show results that are now being investigated for something other than epilepsy (white matter lesions due to potential nervous system inflammation).

My question is if someone needs a normal MRI before driving again.

Thanks

Submitted by Rick on

Hi Rick

There are many different driving regulations based on your medical condition. I’m afraid we only know about driving and epilepsy.

But the DVLA would be only be likely to make a decision about an abnormal MRI scan on an individual basis, after considering the scan results, unless it was clearly part of a particular condition.

You may want to contact the DVLA’s medical group in order to find out what the laws are, though.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Epilepsy and driving: epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/driving-licences-group-1-rules

DVLA drivers’ medical group: gov.uk/dvla-medical-enquiries

Submitted by Cherry on

I commented above about having sleep seizures and having to give up my licence again. I have been informed by the dvla that I have to surrender my licence and can re apply in a couple of weeks as my year pattern will be from the 30th march. Im now just waiting for an appointment with my consultant to discuss the next step hopefully he will support me re applying for my licence. X

Submitted by rachael on

hi i re-applied for my driving licence after being seizure free for 12 months and it seems like ive been waiting forever for it to get back can anyone tell me how long it normally takes or how long they waited until theirs came back as my company are now threatening my job and I'm panicking

Submitted by amy on

Hi Amy

You will need to talk to the DVLA about the time scale of getting your licence back. However, if you sent back your last licence voluntarily you could start driving again when you meet the driving rules, even if you don’t have your driving licence back. This is provided that:

  • your doctor agrees that you meet the epilepsy driving regulations and
  • you have checked and confirmed that the driving agency has received your driving licence application.

 If your licence was revoked, you are not allowed to drive again until you have your actual licence back.

 I hope this is of help.

 Regards

 Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

i was at a concert in VIP section and had a sezuire due to the strobe lights being right infront of me, im waiting to have tests etc done but was wondering what sort of driving rules there are for the patricular case?

thanks
ellie

Submitted by ellie on

Hi ellie

It must have been a terrible shock when you had your seizure. I hope you have made a full recovery.

You should write to, or telephone, the driving agency, telling them the date of your seizure. When you will get your licence back will depend on your diagnosis.

If the doctor diagnoses it as an isolated seizure you may be allowed to drive when:

  • you have been seizure free for at least six months and 
  • your consultant thinks it is unlikely you will have another seizure and
  • the driving agency is satisfied that as a driver you are not likely to be a source of danger to the public.

If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, there are different driving laws for different seizure types and patterns. Please view the information on our driving webpage.

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/driving-licences-group-1-rules

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again. You can do this either by email helpline@epilepsy.org.uk or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050

Regards.

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi my husband had epilepsy, he hasn't had a sezuire for about 8 years but he has starred having what we think are petite mal??
What do we need to do
Thanks

Submitted by Bex on

Hi Bex

This must be a shock to your husband, after not having seizures for so many years. He really needs to talk to his family doctor, who can look at his treatment, and possibly send him to an epilepsy specialist. In the meantime, it would be useful to keep a diary of his symptoms, to show his specialist what has been happening.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi

I had 2 awake seizures, one in 2000 and then another in 2001, at that point I was diagnosed with epilepsy and started taking Lamotrigine and still do to this day with no more seizures, until this Tuesday night, when I was asleep, after a v long day at work, having not eaten much and work being pretty busy in general and An 18mth old child at home, but a v supportive partner I may add!

Am I still required to surrender my licence in this case? I have not yet been to the GP after being discharged from A&E after a couple of hrs when all tests were clear and I felt 'human' again.

Thanks

Sarah

Submitted by Sarah M on

Hi Sarah

I realise having to stop driving isn’t a good thing but you do legally have to stop driving. Even though you haven’t spoken to your GP, it’s still your responsibility to contact the DVLA. Also at some point the A&E will send a report to your GP regarding you attending A&E. It would be a good idea to talk to your GP about your seizure and your lamotrigine. They can look at possible reasons for your seizure to have happened and if necessary review your treatment.  Your GP may refer you back to a neurologist. The ideal would be to someone with a specialist interest in epilepsy, as there are many different neurological conditions, and neurologists tend to specialise in different ones.

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/treatment/anti-epileptic-drug-treatment#introduction

To help whilst you can’t drive, due to your epilepsy you are entitled to a free bus pass as well as the Disable Rail Card. I realise it doesn’t take away the difficulty of using public transport. Many people do find ways of getting around when they’ve looked at all their local options. I hope this applies to you.

https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/benefits

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

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hello, I had a fall a few weeks ago and sustained a intracerebral bleed. The day afterwards I had a seizure. I am not on any anti epileptic medication and the doctors believe it was a seizure due to the haemorrhage.

What is my situation regarding driving?

Thank you

Submitted by RF on

Hi

If you live in the UK, you need to talk to your own doctor. They can contact a medical adviser at the DVLA or DVA, to find out more on your behalf. If the driving agency believes your seizure could be classed as provoked, they will look at your case individually. Based on a doctor’s advice, the driving agency will advise you when you can start driving again.

I hope this helps.

Amanda

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by amanda on

My son has epilepsy and is on medication. He is 16 and had a seizure just a few days ago. He us keen to learn to drive next year. Will he need to have been fit free for 12 months before we can apply for his provisional license.

Submitted by Debbie jones on

Hi Debbie

Your son can start applying for his provisional licence up to eight weeks before he’s allowed to drive.

When he will be allowed to start driving depends on what type of seizures he has:

If he only ever has seizures when he’s awake, and they affect his consciousness, he can start driving when he’s been seizure free for 12 months.

If he only ever has seizures when he’s awake, and they never affect his consciousness, he can start driving when he’s had a pattern of having this type of seizure for at least 12 months (even if he’s still having them).

If he only ever has seizures when he’s asleep, he can start driving when he has either:

  • Been completely seizure free for 12 months or
  • Had sleep seizures only for at least 12 months (even if he’s still having them)

If he has seizures both when he’s awake and when he’s asleep, he can start driving when he has either:

  • Been completely seizure free for 12 months or
  • Had sleep seizures only for at least the last three years (even if he’s still having them)

I hope this helps.

Amanda

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by amanda on

If I suffered a single episode of seizure due to a brain cavernoma bleeding would this be classed as a provoked attack and how long would I lose licence for

Submitted by Sue graham on

Hi Sue

DVLA state that they must be told if you have suffered an angioma or cavernoma. See www.gov.uk/angioma-and-driving. This is a separate issue from epilepsy.

Sacha

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Sacha on

Thankyou for reply. We know we have to inform dvla and surrender licence but was just asking if the seizure would be classed as a provoked seizure as it occurred due to the bleed

Submitted by Sue graham on

Hi Sue

I can’t answer that question. How your seizure is classed will be determined by the DVLA. They will seek advice from your doctors before making their decision.

Sacha        

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Sacha on

Hi,

Regarding nocturnal seizure, the info you provide states "one-year pattern of seizures while asleep only".
Does anyone know what a pattern means for DVLA?
If I have had only two seizures and these were both nocturnal within a space of six months, can I reapply for my licence a year after the first seizure? Basically what I am asking is how many seizures constitute a pattern.

Many thanks

Submitted by Rick on

Hi Rick

The pattern the DVLA talks about is related to the length of time and type of seizures rather than the number of seizures.

So yes you are correct. If you have had no awake seizures you can apply for a licence based on sleep seizures 12 months after your first sleep seizure. I hope that’s clear.

Cherry
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry@Epilepsy... on

i have waited more then a bloody god dam year for my licence to return it has been the most annoying thing is i can't get into clubs or bars as they need to look at my driving licence for proof of age. I wish i could keep hold of my licence just for that i wouldn't mind waiting to drive but soon i just think what is the bloody god dam point it been more then 14 months now and i got to wait another 12 bloody weeks just so they review the situation. They could of done this last may when i had it it is a joke.

Submitted by matthew England on

Hi Matthew

It sounds like you have been having a terrible time with the DVLA. I have no solution to the long wait. But I just wanted to check if you knew about the Citizen Card? It may be of some use to you as ID.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

Have u got it back yet as you can see we are in similar situation

Submitted by Louise king on

Hi my husband had a seizure following a brain absess last July and we are trying to push the dvla for the return of his licence , we have got the all clear from the neurologist and our Gp but the dvla say they can't go any quicker, it's so frustrating as we have done everything by the book bided our time and now they say the earliest they will look at it is in 2 weeks , his employers have been great but I don't no for how much longer

Submitted by Louise king on

Hi Louise                     

It seems the DVLA has a chronic backlog. It is very frustrating. Before the licence is returned, your husband should receive what is known as a “Section 88” letter from the DVLA. It confirms the DVLA has received his application as well as the relevant medical information. The letter can act as his proof that he can legally drive again before he receives his licence, as long as he meets all the requirements. If he has not received it yet, contact the DVLA to check if it is on its way. When he has that letter he will be allowed to drive.

Sacha

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

Hi we are very confused about this as we have a e mail to say he has to follow his doctors advice whilst waiting for them to conduct their enquiries and a letter as well but I don't no if it's the one above , but we keep getting conflicting info he hasn't his licence as they took it away, Thanks

Submitted by Louise king on

Hi Louise

It may be advisable to talk to the family doctor again. Take our information and the paper work from the DVLA to his doctor. The doctor could then phone the DVLA for guidance on your husband’s situation.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

We have spoken to dvla and they say they have to wait to medical info is back so will have to wait, maybe it is because he had cerebral absess I don't no, consultant said he will be fine and our go and they have said they will process things a as soon as they can so fingers crossed

Submitted by Louise king on

We have just had a letter from the robots at the dvla to say it will take at least 12 weeks to consider the information due to a backlog of enquiries absolute and total joke , I don't think he will lose his job but a lot of people would have they should be ashamed of themselves

Submitted by Louise king on

Hi,

I have had 3 seizures altogether, all spaced about 5 or 6 years apart. The first 2 the paramedics and hospital staff said were down to me having a fever or flu, the third the paramedic seemed to think was due to fatigue, and all test results are coming up clear. I have already surrendered my license to the DVLA but I was wondering if I still have to wait the full 6 months or, because the tests are clear, can I reapply for my licence sooner?

Thanks for any help.

Submitted by Rebekah on

Hi Rebekah

For most people it is necessary to wait at least 6 months. This is because, after 6 months of being seizure free, the risk of having further seizures does go down considerably. The DVLA do have some discretion around this. But the possibility of them saying you can drive earlier than 6 months is fairly low.

Whether it is worth your trying to get your licence back earlier will also depend partly on how your neurologist sees things. If they think you are okay to drive now, then you could apply earlier to the DVLA. The DVLA have their own medical team so they will check they are happy with the neurologist’s decision before giving you your licence back.

Hope that helps.

Cherry
Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

My dad had a seizure, which we believe was provoked by a number of reason, firstly stress due to being diagnosed with cancer of the kidney which luckily he had removed but due to be self employed found himself in financial difficulty during the recovery period. Not long before the seizure his medication was also changed to tramadol, which I have read can trigger seizures, this was quite a high dose and was not advised or weaned off the other medication before being given tramadol.
Due to taken a seizure his first ever one and not took another in nearly 2 years, his driving licence was taken away for 6 months. He is now able to drive but he was a taxi driver to trade and was told his licence would be taken away for 5 years. The stresses in my dad lifes have been reduced signiifcantly from a financial aspect due to selling the family home, and also does no longer take tramadol. Since he is able to drive and had no sign of nother occurance of a seizure we find it very difficult for the local authority to withheld his taxi licence for a period of 5 year, when we believe this to be a provoked seizure. He asked his doctor for a written confirmation of his medical opionon on the matter so he could use this at a hearing for the local authority but the doctor refused and didn't see why him writing this letter would help in anyway as the DVLA has said he is fit to drive. I was wondering if you know of any similar cases that would help for this matter? Thank you

Submitted by Paul on

Hi Paul.

Thanks for your comment.

Each taxi licencing unit has its own conditions of licence.

There are 2 obstacles in your father’s way. One is the position taken by his local taxi licencing unit. I’m not sure there would be any way to challenge that. We do know that London taxi drivers have to meet the higher conditions for a group 2 licence.

The other obstacle is the DVLA’s driving laws. The laws on single seizures and Group 2 licences are very clear, and the risk factors are based on medical research about likelihood of further seizures.  As agreed legal requirements I’m afraid your father’s chances of challenging these are very small indeed.

Cherry
Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

Hi,

When reapplying for a voluntarily surrendered licence I understand someone can drive before the new document is received providing the DVLA has received the application.
Do we need to have a Section 88 letter or is a postal receipt of the application enough?

many thanks

Submitted by rick on

 

Hi Rick

Having a postal receipt isn’t prove that the DVLA have received your application. It would be advisable to check with the DVLA that they have received your application and a section 88 is in the post to you.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

Hi I was assaulted in a unprovoked attack I was knocked unconscious and hit my head on a concrete floor causing a depressed fracture of the skull apparently when I came round I had a seizure that lasted a couple of minutes , I have never had a seizure in my life before however I am now been prescribed 300mg of phenytoin a day I was told to inform the Dvla which I have done.if I can't drive for a minimum of 6 month this will financially ruin me as I am a self employed carpenter any advice would be much appreciated thanks

Submitted by Richard Stockton on

Dear Richard

Thanks for your question. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. The driving rules can be very confusing, and effects they have can be very significant.

It is true that if you have a seizure, or suspected seizure, it’s your responsibility to stop driving and notify the DVLA. If you don’t, you are breaking the law. When you will be able to drive again depends on the type of seizure. If your doctors have determined that your seizure was an isolated seizure, you may be allowed to drive when:

  • you have been seizure free for at least six months and 
  • your consultant thinks it is unlikely you will have another seizure and
  • the driving agency is satisfied that as a driver you are not likely to be a source of danger to the public.

But if your doctors feel that you are at a high risk of further seizures because of the severity of your injury, there are different rules, which are explained more thoroughly in the driving section of our website you’ve been reading.

The example above is for group 1 driving licences only. Group 2 licence rules are much stricter. Please see our group 2 rules if this applies to you.

While you are unable to drive because of your epilepsy, there are some benefits which might help with transport, such as a free bus pass & the Access to Work scheme. Please see our benefits section for more details.

I hope things improve soon. 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.

Sacha
Epilepsy Action Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha@Epilepsy ... on

Hi,

I have suffered from Epilepsy since I was 14 (now 22), i have changed medications a couple of times and i am nearly a year fit free. do you know what the steps are for applying for a driving licence with Epilepsy and will having epilepsy make insurance go sky high?

kind regards
Aimee

Submitted by Aimee on

Hi Amy

Glad to hear your epilepsy is under control and hopefully you will be able to apply for your driving licence back.

To apply for your licence back you need to complete the following forms.

If you live in England, Scotland and Wales
You have to complete a D1 form and a medical questionnaire. These forms are available from Post Office® branches. You can also order a D1 pack from the DVLA website, which has everything you need. You can send the forms to DVLA up to eight weeks before you can legally drive again.

If you live in Northern Ireland
You have to complete a DL1 form and a medical questionnaire. All of the forms are available from the form ordering service at DVA or from Post Office® branches. The DL1 form can only be sent in two weeks before the date you can legally drive again.

How to get your licence back is explained on our website.

We have information on completing the medical form on our website.

Regarding your car insurance, you may find your premium is higher in the first few years. When you get your driving licence back, it will be medically restricted. Medically restricted licences are usually for one, two or three years. Three years is the most common.

If you live in England, Scotland and Wales
Once you have been seizure free for a total of five years, and your doctor supports this fact, you can apply for a long term (till 70) licence.

If you live in Northern Ireland
You can apply for a five year licence, but not for a till 70 one.

In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the rules change when you get to 70.

You may wish to look at our car insurance scheme.

Regards

Diane
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane@Epilepsy ... on

I have mild myoclonic epilepsy and I don't have seizures but I have jerks and I daydream a lot will I be able to drive Im 17 and i don't know if i should/can apply for my provisional

Submitted by rebecca unthank on

Hi Rebecca

Thanks for your comment. The driving rules can be very confusing.

It’s likely that what you describe as jerks and daydreams are types of seizures. In general, you are allowed to drive when you have been seizure free for a year. It might be possible for you to get better seizure control and then be permitted to drive. You could talk to your epilepsy specialist or epilepsy nurse about your treatment, and how you might be able to achieve this.

Kind regards

Sacha

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

I took an overdose sept11 2014, which resulted in a seizure, would this be classed as provoked,in order to try and get licence back before 6 months

Submitted by richard on

Hi Richard

Thanks for your question. I hope things are feeling a bit better for you now.

It’s unlikely that a seizure caused by an overdose would be classed as provoked. You could talk to your doctor to confirm this with a medical adviser at the driving agency. But, the driving agency has very strict criteria for what would be considered a provoked seizure.

Kind regards

Sacha

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Sacha-Epilepsy ... on

Hi,

I had one awake seizure this time last year. I have never had a seizure of fit in myself before. I was running a business, lack of sleep and very stressed.

Since then I have had 3 seizures in my sleep, one being beginning of October and the others being 10 months before that. The first seizure in my sleep was due to the doctor not giving me the correct dosage, The other seizures I have had have been my sleep and whilst I have been under the influence of alcohol and lack of sleep.

Not driving has effect my job and life and relationship, had to close my business down because of it. What can I do? I have been fit free whilst I am awake since November 2013.

Submitted by Tom Peare on

Hi Tom

It sounds like things have been tough for you since you haven’t been able to drive.

The epilepsy and driving laws say that you have to be seizure-free awake or asleep for 12 months before you can re-apply for your driving licence. Or if you only have sleep seizures and no awake ones, for an established pattern of three years, you would be able to re-apply for your driving licence.

Because you’re not able to drive at the moment, you would be entitled to a free bus pass. And you might be interested in a Disabled Person’s Railcard. They could help a little. I’ve linked you to the information for England. Hope that’s correct.

For help with benefits you might want to talk to someone at your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Or contact Turn2us, which can help with benefits and grants information.

You may also be interested in our online community, forum4e. This is for people with epilepsy and carers of people with epilepsy. People can find it really helpful to talk to other people in a similar situation.

I do hope things improve for you soon.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

I have had Epilepsy since 2003 when I had my first seizure asleep at the age of 45. I Iost my driving licence for 1 year. Eleven months later with one month to go before I got my licence back I had another seizure so I lost my licence again. All my seizures have been asleep seizures. I got my licence back the year later and was seizure free for 5 years, then I had another sleep seizure and was told I could carry on driving as I hadn't had any seizure's for 5 years and the ones I had were sleep seizures. In Nov 2013 whilst driving my car with my two young children I had a suspected seizure, luckily I had just parked my car when the seizure happened and it rolled to a standstill not causing any damage to the car, myself or the children.

I have just got my licence back and now my ex wife says I cannot drive the children at all unless I have an adult in the car with me and is threating to take me to court even thought my doctor,consultant and the DVLA say I'm fit to drive. Can my ex wife legally insist I have an adult with me when I have the children with me ? This is the first awake seizure I have ever had in the 10 years of having epilepsy. Whats your take on this ?

Submitted by Gerry Thomas on

Dear Gerry

Thank you for your question. That sounds like a difficult situation.

The DVLA make the laws on driving based on carefully researched calculation of risks. So they are clear that you are at no more risk that anyone else behind a wheel. This is why you have your licence back.

I’m sorry but I don’t know what the legal situation would be, to do with looking after your children. The Equality Advisory Support Service may be able to help you. Their number is 0808 800 0082. They could talk to you about whether this would be seen as an act of discrimination.  

Depending on what the EASS say, you may want to try the family mediation service. They could possibly help you and your ex-wife resolve this.

I really hope it can sort for you soon.

Cherry, Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Mark@Epilepsy Action on

Hi, the information I have read through so far has been very helpful, could you help me with this query?

I have had Epilepsy since about 1996 and has been controlled most of the time with suitable medication. I have lost and reapplied for my licence a few times during that period up to the beginning of 2014, when my seizures suddenly seemed to become more aggressive in appearance and more frequent.

My last awake seizure was at the beginning of Feb 2014, my medication has been altered with the addition of one new drug about 8-9 months ago and so far so good.

I previously had a pattern of sleeping seizures only, I wouldn't be able to definitively say that I have had full blown night time seizures on top of the last daytime seizure, because I do have very vivid dreams/night terrors - the doctor has explained it could be due to the medication.

Briefly, my question is this - My last awake seizure in which I lost consciousness was about Feb 2014, my last nighttime seizure that could be confirmed was a few years before 2014. Do night terror/active dreams count as seizures that would affect when I could re-apply for my licence?

Thanks

Submitted by Karl on

Dear Karl

Thank you for your email.

The answer to your question is most likely to depend on how your neurologist defines what is happening for you at night. If they are unsure, they do have a hotline to the Drivers Medical Group at DVLA. They may want to discuss this with them as it is certainly a grey area.

If they do not consider your night time activity to be seizure related, then you could reapply for your licence now. If you surrendered it voluntarily you should be able to start driving once the 12 months are up, your doctor is happy for you to drive, and you know that the DVLA have received your application.

If they do think it is seizure related, there are two different ways in which you could get your licence back. One is to be completely seizure free for 12 months.  The other is to have a 3 year established pattern of sleep seizures only. You could then apply for a licence based on this fact. So even if you continued to have sleep seizures, you could continue to drive.

The driving laws for epilepsy are complicated. And your situation is not straight forward. Within that, I do hope I have been able to offer you some clarity on it.

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.


Cherry

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

I had petit mal from 14 - 17 whilst being phyically abused by my father I am now 70 and have had 2 blackouts one dec. 13 one aug 14. Both un witnessed. Consultant put me on medication and have had mri and eeg . How long before I can apply to drive again plz I surrendered my licence myself

Submitted by fran langford on

Dear Fran

It sounds like you’ve had some difficult times in your past.

Here is our information about the driving laws.

You need to be seizure free for 12 months in order to be able to reapply for your licence. There are slightly different rules if you have a pattern of sleep seizures only, or seizures that do not affect your consciousness. But as you surrendered your licence yourself, you can start the process after 10 months.

The epilepsy and driving laws are confusing though. So if it would be easier to discuss this on the on the phone, do feel free to contact us on our Epilepsy Helpline freephone number 0808 800 5050.

Cherry
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

Hello,

I have been having epilepsy for about 14 years, I am 21 now, and my seizures are still not under control. I have tried many type of tablets, had a brain surgery but I keep having seizures at least once a week both grand mal and petit mal. I really want to drive, but there's no way I am going to be seizure-free for a year. I wanna pass the driving test. Am I obliged to tell them that I have epilepsy? Is it illegal drive when having epilepsy or is it just an advice ?

Submitted by Amy on

Hi Amy

It must be tough still not having seizure control after so many medicine changes and surgery. If you applied for a provision driving licence, there would be a question about your health on the form. If you didn’t declare you had epilepsy, your licence (and insurance) would be invalid. And you would be driving illegally.

It must be a hard thing to come to terms with, even after all these years.

Can I just check that you know about forum4e? It’s our online community for people with epilepsy and carers of people with epilepsy. They can’t make the laws any different, but there are lots of people on there in a similar situation so I’m sure they’d sympathise with you.

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.

Cherry
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

 

Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

Is there such a thing as having restrictions put on your licence, like not being allowed to drive with passengers?

Submitted by Charlotte on

Hi Charlotte

We aren’t aware of any rule about being allowed to drive but not have passengers.

Cherry

Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry, Epileps... on

Hi,

I suffered an isolated seizure back in November 2014. I notified the DVLA and as predicted they revoked my license (I wasn't aware that I could voluntarily surrender it at the time!).

I've been discharged by my Neurologist who is happy with my CT, MRI and EEG results.

I have now reapplied for driving license - I know you can do it up to 8 weeks before your re-qualification date (mine is 4th May 2015). The lady at the DVLA said to post it a week before that so 9 weeks - that's what i've done.

I do have one question though which is not answered anywhere on the DVLA site -

If they are happy with my neuro and doctor's decision and grant me my license back - when should I expect to receive it? Does it ever arrive before the re-qualification date?? and do they trust you to wait until that day to drive? Or will it arrive after?

Also will the DVLA notify me that they have received my application as they have not done this yet?

Thanks,

Alex

Submitted by Alex on

Hi Alex

Thank you for your email.

It’s good news that you are able to reapply for your licence back.

I’m a bit confused over the lady at the DVLA saying you can apply 9 weeks beforehand. Maybe it’s to do with the fact you have had an isolated seizure and not a seizure due to epilepsy.

Our information is for someone with a diagnosis of epilepsy. And a person with epilepsy, who has their licence revoked by the driving agency, can only start processing their application 12 months after their last seizure. They can only start driving again when they meet the epilepsy driving regulations and have received their new licence.

If someone with epilepsy sends their licence back voluntarily they can ask the driving agency to start processing their application from 10 months after their last seizure. They can also start driving even if they don’t have their driving licence back.  As long as:

  • Their doctor agrees that they meet the epilepsy driving regulations and
  • they have checked and confirmed that the driving agency has received their driving licence application.

Maybe it would be best to check your own personal situation with the DVLA. 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. 

Regards

Diane
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane@Epilepsy ... on

Hi. My husband is on anti epileptic meds due to massive seizures & infective endocarditis in Sept '11. Hes been seizure free since & is on meds to insure against seizures. However, he took some st johns wort without my knowledge & had a seizure early hours of this morning. Hes main driver though I'm insured I have panic attacks & am on meds due to cyst on my spinal corD. Does he report this or not?

Submitted by Rebecca James on

Hi Rebecca

It depends whether the seizure your husband had was while he was asleep, and whether he has a pattern of three years or more sleep seizures only.  If you are not sure, the safest way would be to discuss it with DVLA. If he doesn’t report it, and continues driving, he could be driving illegally.

If he is not allowed to drive, he will be eligible for a concessionary bus pass, and possibly some help with getting to and from work.

I hope this answers your question If we can be of any further help, or if you would like to make any comments about our service, please do not hesitate to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. Your feedback is valuable.

Yours sincerely

Kathy, Epilepsy Action

Submitted by Kathy@Epilepsy ... on

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