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Reporting seizures to the driving agency

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.

I've had a seizure. Do I need to stop driving?

If you hold a driving licence, and you have a seizure of any kind, you need to stop driving and tell the driving agency. This applies to both full and provisional licence holders. In England, Scotland and Wales you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). In Northern Ireland you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

There are just 2 exceptions to this. You don’t need to tell the driving agency and can keep driving if:

  • You already hold a driving licence that has been issued on the understanding that you have seizures while asleep and
  • The seizure you have just had was when you were asleep

OR

  • You already hold a driving licence that has been issued on the understanding that you only have seizures that don’t affect your consciousness and
  • The seizure you have just had was the same type

Why should I stop driving and tell the driving agency?

It’s important to stop driving and tell the driving agency when you’ve had a seizure because:

  • There’s a risk you could have a seizure while driving. This could put you and others in danger, and you could be prosecuted
  • If you continue driving, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £1000
  • Your car insurance is unlikely to cover you

It is your responsibility to tell the driving agency. If you don’t do this and carry on driving, anyone could report you to the driving agency. Your doctor may also inform the driving agency if you carry on driving when you shouldn’t. Although doctors have a duty to protect their patients’ confidentiality, over and above this, they have a duty of care to protect the public.

How do I tell the driving agency that I’ve had a seizure and need to stop driving?

The driving agencies say that if you need to stop driving because of a medical condition, you should surrender your licence. This means voluntarily sending it back to them.

Before you send back your licence, it’s a good idea to take a photocopy of it, or take a note of your driving licence number. This information will be helpful if you reapply for your licence at a later date.

How to surrender your licence in England, Scotland and Wales

Fill in the form ‘Declaration of surrender for medical reasons’ and send it to the address on the form along with your licence. You can download the form from the government website, or call DVLA on 0300 790 6806 to request a copy.

How to surrender your driving licence in Northern Ireland

Post both parts of your licence to DVA, along with a covering letter explaining why you are surrendering it.

What’s the advantage of surrendering my licence?

If you surrender your licence you may be able to start driving again as soon as you meet the epilepsy and driving rules, even if you haven’t got your licence back. This is as long as:

  • You have applied to get your licence back and
  • The driving agency has received your application and
  • There are no other medical or legal reasons why you should not be driving

If you don’t surrender your licence, it’s likely the driving agency will take it away (revoke it). If your licence is revoked, when you reapply for your licence you won’t be allowed to drive again until the driving agency has completed their medical enquiries. You will also need to wait till you have received your licence in the post. This can take several weeks.

What if I don’t want to surrender my licence?

You can tell the driving agency about your seizures without surrendering your licence. If you choose to do this, the driving agency will make medical enquiries to see if you’re fit to drive. They will then decide if you can keep your driving licence, or if they will revoke it. You mustn’t drive until the driving agency has told you their decision.

Reporting your seizures without surrendering your licence in England, Scotland and Wales

You can report your seizures to DVLA by completing a medical questionnaire called an FEP1 form (for car and motorcycle licences) or an FEP1V form (for bus, coach or lorry licences). You can download these forms from the government website, or call DVLA on 0300 790 6806 to request them.

Alternatively, you can report your seizures to DVLA online. At the time of writing this option is only available for car and motorcycle licence-holders.

Reporting your seizures without surrendering your licence in Northern Ireland

You can report your seizures to DVA by phone on 0845 402 4000 or email. They will then send you a medical questionnaire to complete.

You’ll need to tell your motor insurance company too. See our page about insurance, travel costs and driving for work for more information.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action freephone Helpline on 0808 800 5050.

Code: 
B005.06

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

Ed Foxell has declared no conflict of interest.

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

  • Updated April 2018
    To be reviewed April 2020

Comments: read the 37 comments or add yours

Comments

Dear Epilepsy Action Helpline,

Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thank you.

My son will be applying for his Provisional Driving Licence next year; a number of EEGs in the past showed mild abnormalities, but were inconclusive. His final EEG, however, was normal as well as his MRI scan. My son has experienced episodes of deja vu for approximately 3 - 4 years, which he, now, ignores and has recently been informed he does not have epilepsy. As a diagnosis has been excluded, I would be grateful if you would advise as to whether my son would need to disclose his previous episodes of deja vu to the DVLA, or would it be sufficient for our GP to support his application, or possibly a Neurologist, by providing a statement of support ?

Thank you for all your help.

Kind Regards,

N

Submitted by Nao on

Hi

The DVLA says you only need to tell them about deja vu if it’s related to seizures or epilepsy. If your son’s neurologist says his episodes of deja vu are not seizures and are not related to epilepsy, then he won’t need to inform the DVLA when applying for his provisional licence. There’s also no need for him to get a letter of support from his GP or neurologist.

Best wishes

Grace, Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Grace@Epilepsy ... on

I suffer from epilepsy I only have seizures at night but the other day I have one in the daytime
I’ve already had my driving license revoked from a blackout I had 2/3 month ago meaning I can’t drive anyway for 12months
How do I stand driving wise on this

Submitted by Richard simons on

Hello Richard

Driving rules can be complicated so it is good you are checking this out. The driving rules say that a person who has had seizures both when they are awake and asleep can drive again when;

•You’ve been free of both awake and sleep seizures for at least 12 months

This applies from the date of your last seizure, so this is likely to  be 12 months from your most recent seizure.

Karen

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Karen-Epilepsy ... on

My son who is 16 ¾ years old had rugby accident on the 15th October 2017. Shortly (within an hour) after the accident he had a single fit (seizure). It was discovered he had fractured his skull. He has since recovered completely with no ill effects within 4 weeks & back at school as normal, even playing non-contact sports. But he is currently on Levetiracetam Accord (1000mg per day).
After the visit to the consultant yesterday, he will be coming off the medication gradually. Reducing 250mg every two weeks.
As I understand he doesn’t have epilepsy, the doctors believe the fit was related to the injury because the fit was within a short period of time.
He currently has a provisional deriving licence, ready for 1st December when he is 17 year.
I am a little confused with the guidelines on the DVLA website? Regarding Seizures /fits on the applicability regarding my son. Would I need to surrender his licence?

Submitted by Neil Doyle on

Hi Neil

Your son’s situation falls into something of a grey area within the epilepsy and driving laws. No wonder the information is confusing.

Because your son has had a seizure he may need to wait 6 months from October to reapply for his licence. However as the consultant has been so specific about the seizure, it may well be worth contacting DVLA. They may look on it as a provoked seizure: https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/can-i-drive. As you can see, one of the possible definitions of this is a seizure within a week of a head injury.

You could check if they feel, on discussion with his consultant that it may be possible for him to start driving again sooner.

A minor complication is that DVLA may feel he would be best fulfilling their guidance about withdrawing from epilepsy medicines: https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/changing-and-withdrawing-medicines

My feeling is that this is less likely, because he has not had a diagnosis of epilepsy. But you will definitely need to check this with DVLA. 

I hope that helps a bit.

Regards 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi, I recently had a seizure out of the blue whilst I was asleep and had to go to hospital the next morning. They said I had low blood sugar and salt levels and gave me a sodium drip. I have also been referred to neorology and am currently waiting for an MRI scan so currently still investigating the cause of this seizure.

My main issue is that I started a new job only 6 weeks ago that I have to commute to, which I've now had to take almost an entire week off due to the after effects of that seizure. My doctors have told me to stop driving immediately which I have done and luckily I have the advantage of being able to commute via train but I am not sure when I'm supposed to notify DVLA. Is it right away or when I have a proper diagnosis? Also how does this affect my insurance policy? I have my partner as a named driver on my insurance, he is still a learner but is due to have his test in January and if he passes will he be allowed to drive my car or is my whole insurance policy now invalid?

I just don't want to lose my car and if I know my partner is driving it while I can't then that would be a huge stress off my mind!

Submitted by Megan on

Hi Megan

You will need to surrender your licence. But some people chose to wait until the results of the test and a more definite diagnosis. It is possible DVLA will see this as an isolated seizure. If that is the case you would only need to stop driving for 6 months.

It’s good you’re able to commute. Do you know you would be entitled to a free bus pass and a Disabled Persons Railcard?

As your licence is no longer valid, your insurance won’t be either. You will need to ring your car insurance company to check what to do about your partner.

I hope that helps.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I have surrendered my licence after one nocturnal fit. I saw the neurologist and explained I had de ja vu /impeding doom feelings while awake which I've had at least 30 years without loss of conscious. Did I need to surrender the license

Submitted by Marie on

If you have any alteration of consciousness you need to surrender your licence. If the neurologist thinks this is likely to be seizure activity then you will need meet the epilepsy and driving laws before you reapply for your licence. If your nocturnal seizure involved loss on consciousness you would need to be seizure free for 12 months before you could reapply for your licence.

If you have never had a seizure involving  alteration of consciousness you may meet the epilepsy and driving laws already. You would need to talk to DVLA about this.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi, i have had a seizure in October due to stopping diazepam which turned out to be a bad batch and caused a seizure, I'm not on any medication for it and do not have epilepsy, i have now received a letter from dvla and not sure what to do as the questionnaire is all about epilepsy, can you please give me advice on what to do and how long will my license be taken from me as i know now I'm seizure free

Submitted by Ian Downie on

Hi

DVLA will need to know about any episodes whether they are part of epilepsy or not. You could always do your best on the form but also include a covering letter explaining things you couldn’t in the form. Or you could ring DVLA and get their advice. The Drivers Medical Enquiries phone number is 0300 790 6806.

I hope that’s helpful.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

My husband has been diagnised with sleep epilepsy. He has had his driving license returned which civers him to drive a tractor ( his job) Currently the NFU and health and safety people (not sure uf its NFU health and saftey or uk) are being difficult about insuring him re; driving tractors, forklifts, welding. I feel we need some advice with the law.
I have read on here once you have been told you have a pattern of a type of epilepsy you longer need to notify dvla which with the last sezuire we did not as the application for license had gone in however ee dud notify his consultant who along with hus recomendations notified them of hus last seizure.

Submitted by June Fox on

Thanks for your message.

The answer to your question will depend partly on what type of licence your husband now has.

If he has a licence based on having sleep seizures only then he doesn’t need to notify DVLA of further sleep seizures.

If he has a licence based on being 12 months seizure free then he needed to tell DVLA about the seizure he had after the application had gone in, as he would no longer have been 12 months seizure free.

Consultants do not always get the driving rules right. And it would be necessary to report a seizure yourself rather than through the consultant.

If your husband does have a legitimate licence then if DVLA considers him fit to drive a car, it should not be a problem for him to drive a tractor. If his seizures are still only in his sleep then there should not be a risk to him driving a tractor on private land. He does not need a licence for this. But he would need his employer to do an individual risk assessment

It has been necessary to put a lot of ‘ifs’ in this response. If it would be easier to talk about this, do feel free to give us a call on our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I'm 30,I have been seizure free for 10 years now and been driving for nearly two, however was recently put on levothyroxine on top of my sodium valproate and suffered a seizure of sorts. Didn't need to sleep after and pretty much got straight up afterwards.
My question is knowing that levothyroxine lowers the seizure threshold and not having my medication correctly to suit this or bring given teeth t3, along with being fit free for so long where do I stand with my driving? I ask as my wife doesn't drive and my job involves me driving.
There seems to be a great deal of confusion. After 10 years I'd consider my epilepsy well under control but any amount of studies show that levothyroxine is not good to just take without taking t3 or adjusting my ad's.
Thanks in advance guys.

Submitted by Matt on

Hi Matt

Thank you for your post.

This is a difficult situation. It would probably be a good idea to talk to your doctor. Doctors and other healthcare professionals can write, fax, email or speak (by telephone between 10.30am and 1pm from Monday to Friday) to one of the DVLA’s medical advisers. DVLA say

‘Advice may be sought about a particular driver identified by a unique reference number, or about fitness to drive in general.

If the telephone service is busy, they will be able to leave a message for one of the medical advisers to call back.

Please note that this service is for medical professionals only.

The contact details for such enquiries in England, Scotland and Wales are:

medadviser@dvla.gsi.gov.uk

Telephone: 01792 782337

Fax: 01792 761104

The Medical Adviser Drivers Medical Group DVLA Swansea SA99 1DA

The contact details for enquiries in Northern Ireland are:

Telephone: 0300 200 7861

Drivers Medical Section

Driver and Vehicle Agency Castlerock Road Waterside Coleraine BT51 3TB

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

Regards

Diane

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Diane-Epilepsy ... on

Hi, my son had 2 seizures just before xmas 2017, he has a provisional licence but has not started driving lessons because of this do I have to inform the dvla about this? He is on medication now to prevent them, what do I need to do now?

Submitted by Christine on

Hi Christine

Yes your son does have to inform DVLA. This is because his provisional licence would not now be valid. He will be able to reapply for his provisional licence after he has been seizure free for 12 months.

I hope things settle down well for your son. 

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi,
I was wondering if anyone had any experience of getting insurance in the UK after a seizure. I had a seizure 11 months ago and none since. My situation relates to an operation and some left over scar tissue 8 years ago that can occasionally comes back to haunt me. I have actually only ever had 2 proper seizures, but 2 means epilepsy according to the DVLA "rules" and so its 12 months off driving for me!
When it happens I just to have to accept that I am going to be off the road for 12 months, however this is the second time now and the process with the DVLA is beyond painful, filling out the same form twice and then going backwards and forwards between consultant, DVLA and GP.

This time I was advised to surrender my license (which I did) and I was told this would allow me to drive even whilst the DVLA carry out their enquiries.
The problem is when I am trying to get insurance, what license do I say I have as technically it is surrendered! So whilst I am told I can drive after 12 months, I actually cant get insured and therefore cant drive. Any advice is welcome from people who have had similar experiences!

Submitted by Ben Long on

Hi Ben

You would need to point your insurers to Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This is the legislation that allows you to drive.

It can also be a good idea to print a copy of the guide to keep in your car until your licence comes through.

I hope that helps.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi

My brother has been seizure free for 16 years. 3 months ago, he had his first child which has had an effect on his sleep patterns. Until his little one was born, he would consistently have 8 hours sleep and has been driving for 15 years living a normal life with no issues.
Can you please advise whether he will now need to wait a year before getting driving?

Thanks

David

Submitted by David Mertens on

Hi David

Although I can certainly understand the effect a new baby will have had on your brother’s sleep, the DVLA don’t take lack of sleep into consideration. If your brother has had a seizure he’ll need to stop driving and surrender his licence. The DVLA will let him know when he can reapply for his licence, but it’s very likely he will need to be a year seizure free before he can start driving again.

Best wishes

Grace

Epilepsy Action Helpline

Submitted by rich on

Hi - In August 2017 I had my first seizure in 20 years. I contacted DVLA by phone to let them know and was told to report it online, which I did. A day or two later I received a letter to say my licence had been revoked. I didn’t appreciate that this was a significant point until last week when I called them to say that my doctor had confirmed I was fit to drive and so I’d be fine from a Section 88 perspective. The DVLA said I had completed the wrong online form and should have completed the Surrender form. They wouldn’t have revoked my licence and I’d thus have been able to rely on Section 88 and drive from the 12 month anniversary. This is really upsetting especially as i can’t for the life of me understand why my ability to drive now should be impacted by the the way I reported my seizure. I tried to do everything by the book - I hid nothing and acted swiftly. Why didn’t somebody at DVLA direct me to the Surrender form rather than just tell me to report the seizure online? And why doesn’t the form I completed have a big sign across the top of it saying ‘Are you sure you mean to complete this form or do you actually want to complete the Surrender form?’ I’m assuming it’s too late to appeal and that in any case to do so would simply slow down the process that’s already underway...

Submitted by Tom McLaughlan on

Hi Tom

I know how important getting your licence back can be. It must be really frustrating to know you have to wait longer because of a wrong form.

Honestly I don’t think there’s any point in appealing. Especially if you just want your licence back as quickly as possible.

Regards

 

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

Hi. On Tuesday I had 3 seizures just out the blue but I am almost certain it was due to to many pain killers. I suffer bad with my leg and lower back. It really does get me down. The pain is sometimes un bearable the doctors Kept sending me away. This one morning I suffered all night with pain then in the morning I took a cocktail of pain killers just to be able to carry on with my daily chores. But by 11 am I started to twitch and I couldn’t get my words out. I knew that the tablets I had taken was to strong for me. But I just thought it would wear off. Anyway I woke up in hospital the next morning to learn that I had 3 seizures and my blood pressure went very very low all the family was called to come to the hospital to see me. I soon picked back up. And my mri scans have come back normal. I know that it was the strength of the tablets that sent me into a seizure. I haven’t been given any medication or anything so I’m really confused with the driving. I won’t drive until I have been to the first image clinic that I am waiting on coming through the post. Surely If they thought I had epilepsy I’d be on medication. If only I could turn back time ay 😢. Xxx

Submitted by Dolly on

Hi Dolly,

How awful for you to have been in so much pain and then to have had three seizures on top of this.

It may be that your seizures were related to the pain killers you were taking, and if fact many people have a one-off seizure in their lifetime and never have another. Diagnosing epilepsy can be difficult and this is usually done by an epilepsy specialist. It’s mainly based on someone’s symptoms and may not be possible until a pattern of seizures has developed. So when you have your appointment with the first seizure clinic it may a case of needing to “wait and see.” If the specialist thinks that you may have epilepsy we have lots of information on our website that you might find helpful.

If you’ve had any kind of seizure it’s important that you stop driving and tell the driving agency what’s happened. This is still the case even if you have a one off seizure and aren’t diagnosed with epilepsy. However,  if doctors feel this was an isolated event and don’t think there’s a risk of you having further seizures, you may be able to re-apply for your license sooner. The driving agency will be able to tell you when you can re-apply for your licence, depending on your circumstances.  We have more information on the driving rules here.

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi,
I am currently 8 months into being 12 months seizure free. I did have nocturnal seizures mainly and de ja vu in the day, but usually when I was tired.
What would happen if after getting my licence back, I had another nocturnal seizure? Would I have to tell the dvla and surrender my licence again?
Thanks in advance

Submitted by Steve on

Hi,

It is great news that you are seizure free and hoping to get your licence back. The rules around driving can seem very confusing, but I have put the relevant statements from our webpages here to try to clarify your situation:

If you were to have a sleep seizure you would need to tell DVLA, surrender your licence and satisfy the 12 month seizure free criteria. This is because you have had a different type of seizure in the past.

If you continue to l have sleep seizures, you can drive when you have been having sleep seizures only for at least three years. The three years applies from the date of your first sleep seizure after your last awake seizure”

If you need it, we  have an on line driving tool on our website to help you work out whether you can drive or not in the future.

If we can be of any more help, please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050 (We are open 8.30 – 8pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday and 10am – 4pm Saturday)

Regards

Mags

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi
Any advice appreciated as I am not sure what I should do. Had two full grand mal seizures in early 2013, MRI at time showed small cyst on right temporal lobe. This was removed by surgery in 2013-2014 and was benign. I have been on anti seizure medication as a pre caution however I am fine now and have not suffered seizures since early 2013.

I stopped driving for 3 years at the time but did not send in my drivers license to DVLA. My doctors said I am fine to drive since it has been so long since my last seizure(2013).
I just noticed my license expired on February this year.
I want to drive now for work reasons. Should I send in my expired license with a cover letter or letter from GP? Since it’s been so long since my seizure can I drive now? Any idea what will happen if just send in my license with a cover letting explaining all of the above?

Submitted by Aid on

Hi Aid

You will need to apply for a new licence both because the other one has expired and also because the current one is not actually valid. This is because you should have surrendered it when you first had the seizures.

So as well as completing the D1 application for a new licence you will also need to complete an FEP1. This is the form which tells DVLA about a medical condition. Completing it gives your consent for DVLA to contact your doctor to check whether they understand you to be seizure free. For this reason you do not need to include a letter from your GP. Your consent gives DVLA the right to contact your doctor directly.

If you have been seizure free for more than a year, then you meet the epilepsy and driving laws.

My suggestion therefore is to complete a D1, an FEP1 and write a covering letter explaining your situation. Although you should have surrendered your licence back in 2013, DVLA are more interested in keeping people safe on the road. So the fact that you haven’t driven since then is likely to be their main concern. You will need to wait for a new licence before you are able to start driving again.

I really hope this helps you move forward.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by Cherry-Epilepsy... on

I had my first unexplained seiszure whilst asleep on Friday 9 November 2018 was taken to casualty had bloods done and ct scan and given anti fitting tablets which I take each day. I am waiting to see neurologist and for MRI. I am very confused as to what forms I need to fill in for DVLA as I am hoping to drive again after I've got my diagnosis. Can you help please. Thanks Lynn

Submitted by Lynn Wright on

My husband was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy as a child. In the last 10 years he has had only two large seizures, and nothing in the last 3 years. He does regularly have absence seizures but they are very short and not very noticeable. Do these small seizures prevent him from driving?

Submitted by Kirsten on

Hi Kirsten

If your husband is still having seizures he will not be able to drive. This will include his absence seizures as they do involve a lack of awareness even though it may be very brief. He would need to be completely seizure-free for 12 months before he could reapply for his licence.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

I had a nocturnal fit 21 May 2018 all tests came back fine told by my consultant I can drive again applied for my license send £42 and Photo 3 weeks why is it taking such a long time also someone has told I shouldn’t have to pay £42

Submitted by Terence Joseph ... on

Hi Terence

As far as we’re aware there isn’t normally a charge when re-applying for your driving licence after a medical condition.

To re-apply you would need to fill out an application form and a medical questionnaire. There are different applications forms depending on whether you’re applying for a group 1 or group 2 licence, and which driving agency you are applying to. We have the links to these forms and more information on the application process here 

I’m not sure if this is the process that you’ve been through, but it sounds like it might not be. So it might be a good idea to get in touch with the driving agency to discuss this with them. You can contact the DVLA on 0300 790 6806 or the DVA on 0300 200 7861.

Regards

Jess

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

 

Submitted by rich on

Hi,
My wife had a seizure a couple of weeks ago and hasn't been driving since. She has just voluntarily surrendered her licence. We are wondering whether she needs to fill in the FEP1 form also or not? Please can someone advise.
Thanks

Submitted by Dan Goodhind on

Hi Dan,

Your wife doesn’t need to fill in the FEP1 at the moment. If she wants to reapply for her licence in the future then she should fill in the FEP1 at that point, along with the D1 form to reapply for her licence.

Our Can I drive a car or motorcycle? page will tell her when she might be able to reapply for her licence.

Grace

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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