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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 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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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 2015

Comments: read the 67 comments or add yours

Comments

i had a seizure 2 months ago, still waiting for test results. my employer has just mailed me a letter saying they are going to terminate my contract, i can understand this due to the nature of the work i do but was just wondering if there was anything i could do, i have been doing other duties at work which dont involve driving but the company says it is uneconomical to keep me in this role till the seizure free period has passed. any info welcome

Submitted by robert on

Hi Robert

This is quite complicated. If you live in the UK and are diagnosed with epilepsy, you are automatically covered by the equality laws. However, doctors don’t usually make a diagnosis of epilepsy until you’ve had two or more epileptic seizures.

The equality laws are the Equality Act (for people who live in England, Scotland and Wales) and the Disability Discrimination Act (for people who live in Northern Ireland). They place a duty on your employers to make reasonable adjustments to help you stay in work. For example, they could find duties for you to do that do not involve driving, until you are able to do so again. This is as long as there are other duties available to do, and it is reasonable for the employer to find other ways to cover your driving duties during that time. Alternatively, they could consider other ways for you to travel around, such as by public transport or taxi.

It sounds like you don’t have a diagnosis of epilepsy yet, so could ask your employer if there is any way they can help you until you are able to drive again? If you have only had one seizure, and you don’t have any more, you should be allowed drive again when you have been seizure-free for six months. You could contact ACAS, to see if they can offer you advice about how to approach your employer, tel. 08457 474 747.

You may also find these web pages helpful:
Diagnosing epilepsy
The Equality Act
The Disability Discrimination Act
Work and epilepsy

I do hope you find a solution. If we can be of any further help, please contact us again.

Amanda
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Amanda@Epilepsy... on

Having been diagnosed with epilepsy 5 years ago, after a series of seizures, I surrendered my driving license and gratefully received it back a year later once my condition was under control.

Last week, after the most stressful few weeks at work imaginable, which consisted of early starts, late nights and an Ofsted inspection, I had a seizure in front of the class I teach. I hadn't been entirely complient with my medication during this last few weeks either.

I could kick myself for not looking after myself properly. How long now before I can realistically look forward to driving again?

Submitted by Adam on

Hi Adam. I appreciate how frustrating this must be for you. If you live in the UK, and you have no more seizures, you will be allowed to drive 12 months after the date of the seizure.

As you already know, stress and not taking your epilepsy medicine as prescribed are very common triggers for seizures. If you have problems remembering to take your epilepsy medicine, would it help to use an alarm or a pill reminder? You might also want to look out for a new app for smart phones that we are developing, which will have a medication reminder on it. We’re hoping this will be available by Christmas.

When you are feeling stressed, you could ask your GP if they have any suggestions for helping you to deal with this.

I hope this helps.

Amanda
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Amanda@Epilepsy... on

Hi I had one night time seizure two months ago after a busy stressful period of work. I had a number of tests including MRI on my brain all of which came back fine. The doctor said to see him after 6 months for another check up i stopped driving straight away as a precaution but I do not know if I need to surrender my licence, my employer has made it clear that if I loose it more than 6 months I will lose my job, any advice would help.

Submitted by Daz on

Hi Daz

It’s best to inform the DVLA even if you’ve only had one seizure. 1 in 20 people have a single seizure in their lives. So that may be the case for you. After 6 months you will need to see your consultant again, and if they are okay with you driving, then you should tell the DVLA. If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, you will be covered under the Equality Act. This means your employer cannot simply dismiss you without looking at the options. This could include making reasonable adjustments to your work or, in some cases, seeing if there is other work they could offer you . It will depend on what work you do, how possible the adjustments might be. But you might want to keep a note of anything your employer says on the matter, in case it does become a problem. But I do hope it’s straight forward for you.

Cherry
Epilepsy Action advice and information team


More information on driving and epilepsy
More information on epilepsy diagnosis
More information on employment and epilepsy

Submitted by Cherry@Epilepsy... on

Hi, I had a seizure/fit that came without warning whist I was in town in July. There were witnesses in the shop where it happened that said my legs & arms were moving and I did bang my head when I fell. I felt light headed & as though there were lights in front of my eyes, before it happended. But I don't know if I felt faint, fell, banged my head & then had a seizure/fit. I've seen a neurologist & straight away he said I won't be able to drive for a year. My CT scan at the time was clear, I've had an MRI and EEG, which are both clear. On my blood test, it shows I am anemic. This has never happended before. As I understand it having one seizure means you can't drive for 6 months which is fine but if I don't have epilepsy why would my neurologist say a year. When I questioned this he said that was the law, however, when I surrendered my licences I was told 6 months. I'm due to see my neurologist again next week. So I want to be clear with where I stand as I'm confused and obviously would like my license back ASAP.. I have been fine since this and nothing else has happened. Thank you for your help

Submitted by Nicki on

Hi Nicki.

Thanks for your message. It is certainly the law that after a single seizure you can’t drive for at least 6 months. Whether it is any longer, depends on whether you get a diagnosis of epilepsy.

This is not an easy thing to diagnose. It is possible to have a clear EEG and MRI and still have epilepsy. But also epilepsy is defined as having recurrent seizures. And about one in 20 people have a single seizure in their lives. So if you have not had any other episodes like this, but your neurologist diagnoses you with epilepsy, you may want to ask them on what basis this decision has been made.

 If you are not given a diagnosis, then you are entitled to apply for your licence back, on the basis that the episode is unlikely to happen again. See reviews and appeals fro what to do if that becomes a problem.

I hope this works out for you.

Cherry
Advice and information Team

More information on diagnosing epilepsy
More information on driving and single seizures
More information on reviews and appeals

Submitted by Cherry@Epilepsy... on

Hi,
I got diagnosed with Epilepsy in March 2012 and stopped driving right away but didn't inform the DVLA until I voluntary surrendered my licence at the start of September 2012 as I was really busy and spent lots of time out of the county. I'm looking at now re-applying as it will be coming up to my year free of seizures ( March 2012- seizures stopped within 3 weeks of being diganosed & taking Lamotrigine) , will the DVLA allow me to drive again even though I only informed them in September? Or do they just go on my medical history as that shows I have been seizure free for the year? I only have very mild seizures (feeling of de ja vue, nausea, space out) Helpp :D thanks x

Submitted by Claire on

Hi D

You mentioned that you only have very mild seizures. If you still have the mild seizure, they are still seizures and this would stop you from being able to get your licence back. You could check with your doctor that you can meet the medical standards of fitness to drive before you re-apply for your driving licence.

The one year’s seizure free period applies from the date of your most recent seizure, even if that was very mild seizures. So, if your most recent seizure was in March 2012 you will be eligible to drive in March 2013. That is as long as you don’t have any further seizures up to then.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can start an application, for the return of your licence this month. It can take a few weeks for the licence to be returned, so the DVLA allow people to apply two months before they are due to drive. This doesn’t apply to the DVA in Northern Ireland. The DVA say you need to be 12 months seizure free before you can apply for a driving licence.

On the driving section of our website there is a piece of information about reapplying for your driving licence, it might be a guide for you.

Rosanna
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi, In May 2012 my daughter had a 'questionable' diagnosis of epilepsy/para-migraineouse aura. She stopped driving and surrendered her licence to DVLA. She remains fully conscious/alert throughout and has the support of her Neurologist that she sees no reason why she should not be able to drive. She took Lamotrigine from May until October with little to no effect and has not replaced this with anything else. I realise the new DVLA regulations that were due in on 19th January 2013 would fit her situation, do you have a definate date for when these will be implemented? If not, what do you suggest she does to obtain a correct diagnosis. I believe she has the right to request a 'second' opinion with a Neurologist specialising in epilepsy.

Thanks

Submitted by Jade on

Hi there,

Current Status
I was playing football in Feb last year ‘12, collapsed playing football for no reason what so ever that we can gather and deemed to have an ‘epileptic seizure’… all relevant tests come through fine and clear but I did chose to surrender my licence and keep my car fully insured etc with all parties aware of the circumstance…. Its come up to a year now and I have applied for my licence back whilst having two doses of kepra 750gm in two sittings with no seizures since the feb’12 – Job done, good as I should get my licence back after the year off – which has been frustration to say the least.

Now my problem is, and advice needed to the following…

I have a friend/associate that I know whom has been classified as epileptic he had seizures that have been bought on by tests/results after growing up having seizures.. unlike I, but I chose to bite the bullet and accept my years ban through the random seizure… now he had a year off driving and got his licence back as he ‘was?!’ seizure free – so he says but it turns out that he had a seizure at the petrol station late at night (oct’12) and told our friends its cause he forgot his medication.

My thought process is that forgetting medication is not a great idea but surely he must not be on the right dosage and should tell is doctor/dvla and face time off/another years ban…. He has done neither/that I know off as surely this should be another year off for him. I don’t want to sound negative towards him but I had to ‘man-up’ surely he should admit to not being up to the standards to drive? As he himself is a risk – some if my friends say it isn’t the first time.

What are your thoughts?

Harry

Submitted by Harry on

Hi Harry

It’s good to know that you are now seizure free, and looking forward to having your licence returned.

If your friend has had a seizure while awake within the last year, he is driving illegally. This means his driving licence and insurance will be invalid. He could face prison for driving without a licence and insurance.

You are right – he should tell the DVLA about his seizures –and stop driving!

Kathy
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy@Epilepsy ... on

Hi,
This year I have been through very stressful situations, which my Dr believes resulted in me having 6 awake seizures over the past 3 months.
I was wondering why the driving laws are different to awake seizures to sleep seizures?

Submitted by Sonya on

Hi Sonya

If you has a pattern of only having seizures while you are asleep it won’t affect your ability to drive during the day. However, to drive you will have to satisfy the driving law. So, if you have had both seizures while awake and some while asleep, you can drive if:

  • you have been free from seizures completely for one year; or
  • you have experienced asleep seizures only, for a period of at least three years.

Rosanna
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

Hi, I had a provoked seizures following a general Anaesthetic and have been told I cannot drive for six months. My question is, why if it was provoked? I do not intend to have one again so therefore will not have a seizure. Is this something I can appeal against?

Submitted by Kerry on

Hi Kerry

When a person has a seizure with a specific cause that is unlikely to happen again, and the person has no history of epilepsy, the driving agency will look at this type of seizure as a provoked seizure.

If you believe your seizure could be classed as provoked by the driving agency, and you don’t have a history of epilepsy, you should first talk to your doctor. Your doctor can contact the 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.

If you do have a history of epilepsy, the DVLA may not view your seizure as a provoked seizure. Again, your doctor can seek advice from the Medical Adviser at the driving agency.

Standards for safe driving are set by the EC Directive 91/439/EEC and are based on the advice of the Secretary of State’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panels.

There are six separate panels covering the major conditions and disorders. The panels are made up of experts from particular medical fields. These experts provide advice on how the particular medical conditions affect safe driving.  The panels meet regularly and will review the standards in the light of medical research and advancements in medical science. For further information on this and how to appeal against decisions made, you may wish to visit the DVLA website. Epilepsy Action also has information on the DVLA review and appeal procedure

Regards
Diane, Epilepsy Action advice and information team

Submitted by Diane@Epilepsy ... on

A neighbour of mine has regular seizures but continues to drive. They claim that it is not epilepsy and he is fit to drive. Recently I witnessed them having a seizure in his car. Fortunately, as they were driving slowly, they managed to stop the car and turn the engine off.I was in my car behind and was able to go and help. Other neighbours and myself are concerned that something terrible could happen but are not sure what we should do? Is there a provision for reporting someone you believe to have epilepsy and still driving? Feel like I am between a rock and hard place as if the authorities do catch up with them they will know it is I that have reported them as I was the only person around when I witnessed this latest seizure.
Please advise, kind regards Claire

Submitted by Claire on

What a difficult situation you find yourself in. Here are a few options you may wish to look into.

Try talk to your neighbour again.  Acknowledge it can be difficult to have to stop driving when they're used to having a car. And that many people do find ways of getting around when they’ve looked at all their local options. You could mention how lucky they were not to have been hurt, when they had the episode you witness. You may wish to also make them aware if they do have epilepsy they are probably driving illegally and their insurance will be invalid. If this is the case, and they had an accident, they could face prosecution for driving with an invalid licence or insurance, as well as possibly injuring or killing themselves or others.

Does your neighbour have family or friends you could talk to?

If they or someone else informs the DVLA, the DVLA will not prosecute your neighbour. The DVLA will tell just tell them to stop driving whilst they investigate their fitness to drive.  

To report someone you believe is driving when they are not medically fit to do so, you can report this to their GP practice, the DVLA or the local police.

regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi,

I have had seizures every now and again since childhood. I had them approximately once a year until I was 14, so although I was diagnosed as having Epilepsy, I was never on medication. I then had no symptoms at all until I was 26, when I had 3 seizures within a couple of months. I started seeing a neurologist and was put on Lamotrigine, which prevented any more happening. I lost my license for a year, which was a struggle but I managed. After a year I got it back, I bought a lovely new car and everything was fine. However, over the past month, having been driving for 3 months, I found myself getting very worried and anxious about stupid things, which is very unlike me. I started worrying that I was going to have a seizure when I was in public. Then last week I was sat at my desk and felt like I had chest pains and I couldn't breathe. I then had a seizure, which my neurologist thinks was brought on by a panic attack (I've never had one before), and has increased my dose of Lamotrigine. I am perfectly prepared to give up my license as it was so out of the blue, and if it happened again while I was driving I know it wouldn't be safe. However, there isn't anywhere on the DVLA form to discuss what steps you have taken to try and prevent any further seizures, like increasing medication. Does this matter?

Any advice appreciated.

Submitted by Steph on

Hi Steph

Sorry to hear that you have had a seizure, so soon after getting your licence back. This must be very disappointing for you.

In order to decide whether or not you can drive, the DVLA want to know about the seizures that you have had and when they happened, regardless of whether or not you take epilepsy medicine.

So, even if you told them about steps you have taken to prevent further seizures, this would not make any difference to their decision about whether or not you can drive.

I hope that helps.

Amanda

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by amanda on

My daughter has been seizure free for approx 5 years whilst taking medication, She was at the doctors this morning giving blood when shortly after the procedure she fainted and suffered a mild fit. How does she stand with her licence she has been driving for three years?

Submitted by Sian Price on

Hi Sian

Because your daughter has had a seizure she will need to stop driving and tell the driving agency. Even if she didn’t do this, her insurance would no longer cover her. I’m sorry this is probably not what she wants to hear, but it is important to be clear on the law.

She will also need to see her doctor, to discuss what they think, about when she can drive again. If the doctor is unsure, they have a special advice line on which they can ring the medical section of the driving agency.

If the DVLA sees this as an isolated seizure, they may be happy to give her a new licence after 6 months.

There is a very small chance the driving agency could see the seizure as provoked. In this situation, if you daughter’s doctor and the driving agency were both happy for her to drive again, it may be possible for her to get her licence back sooner. But the circumstances in which the driving agency define a seizure as provoked, are very limited.

If the driving agency does not think the seizure can be defined as isolated or provoked, she will need to be seizure free for 12 months before she can reapply for her licence.

I hope this is useful to you. But 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

Advice and Information Team

Driving laws: http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/stopping-driving#rule1

Isolated seizure: http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/stopping-driving#rule5

Provoked seizure: http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/stopping-driving#rule6

Submitted by Rosanna on

Hi,
Last week I was in a shop when I felt unwell and fainted. Upon fainting I hit my head hard on a tiled floor, which induced me to have a fit and bite my tongue, I was unconscious for a few minutes and an ambulance was called. I was taken to hospital and the doctors stated I had a 'provoked' fit as my CT scan, blood results etc.. all came back fine. I sustained a huge lump on the back of my head, I was referred to see a neurologist as a precaution (appointment in 1 weeks time), as I have NO HISTORY of epilepsy and have never had any fits before in my life. Two days after being released from hospital, I was at home sat on the floor, when my arms started shaking uncontrollably, but I was still conscious... My partner called an ambulance and I was taken into hospital again to be checked over... Bloods etc.. again all came back normal, and I was released the same day. I was then advised by the doctor to start taking epilepsy medication for 1 week as a precaution, until I see the neurologist! My question is 1) Should I inform the DVLA of my provoked fit and will taking this medication for 1 week affect any diagnosis??? Help

Submitted by Ernie on

Hi Ernie

It sounds like this has been a upsetting and worrying time for you. Whilst tests can provide useful information to help with diagnosis, an epilepsy specialist will make a diagnosis based mainly on your symptoms.

Because you have had two suspected seizures, the law says that you need to stop driving and inform the driving agency.

The circumstances in which the driving agency will define a seizure as provoked are very limited. 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.

Taking an epilepsy medicine should not affect your diagnosis as diagnosis is made based mainly on your symptoms and patient history.

It is unusual to take an epilepsy medicine for only one week but I understand that you have an appointment with the neurologist in one week’s time. It is important that you do not just stop taking your epilepsy medicines. If you suddenly stop taking them, this could cause you to have more frequent and severe seizures.

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

Vicky

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Vicky on

Hi,
I have recently informed DVLA that the doctors have advised me not to drive for 3 months as they want to do tests for epilepsy as I passed out one night when drinking and have been having dizzy spells. However the doctors think that this is due to having a low blood pressure and bad migraines.
If all the results come back clear does this mean I will be able to reapply for my licence after 3 months if the consult thinks that I am safe to drive as its migraines and not epilepsy?
Thanks
Sophie

Submitted by Sophie on

Hi Sophie

If you have had a seizure and have been told you don’t have epilepsy, then in most circumstances you could apply to drive again after 6 months, provided you don't have another episode. I have linked you to all our information on that. You would need your doctor and the DVLA to confirm that you meet the driving rules first.

Because we only know about the driving regulations around epilepsy and epileptic seizures, we can't say when you would be able to start driving again, if what happened to you turns out to be connected with something else entirely.

Hopefully your doctor will be able to advise you.

Cherry
Epilepsy Action Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry@Epilepsy... on

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

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