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.
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
- 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
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.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank Ed Foxell at DVLA for his contribution to this information.
Ed Foxell has declared no conflict of interest.
This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.
- Updated March 2017To be reviewed March 2018