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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 31 comments or add yours

Comments

I had my first ever siezure back in November and the seizure was in my sleep, I stoped driving. I was given epilepsy medication before even having tests done or a diagnosis. I then had an MRI and EEG which are clear and don't have epilepsy, but I'm still on medication for some reason.

I would like to know clearly how long I will have to wait before I will be able to have my licence back and I will be able to drive? The rules for my circumstances are not clear.

Submitted by Hannah on

Hi

It may be that DVLA will decide you have had an isolated seizure. This would mean you could possibly reapply for your licence after 6 months. But this decision would be made after talking to your consultant.

The fact that your consultant has put you on epilepsy medicine suggests that they think it is possible you will have further seizures. If there is a reason for this, then DVLA would probably need you to be seizure free for 12 months.

So you need to speak to your consultant. You’ll need to know if they think this could be an isolated seizure. If so, why are you on epilepsy medicine. And if they think you are at risk of further seizures, what are they basing this decision on. 

I hope that makes sense. 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. 

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hello,

Any help / guidance is greatly appreciated.

I've very recently been diagnosed as having Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with Simple Partial Seizures by a Neurologist. Basically, I experience a feeling of deja vu along with a slight feeling of nerves/dread in my stomach. The feeling last approximately 5-10 seconds and then disappears. I've experienced this for almost 4 years but never thought to visit the doctors as it never affected my consciousness, alertness, ability to act/think/speak or do.

I experienced these 'feelings' throughout the 4 year period, including during driving lessons and my control of the vehicle was never compromised. Nobody even knows when I'm having these 'seizures' unless I mention then. My neurologist has stated that in his opinion, I am fit to drive but I need to mention my diagnosis to the DVLA.

Question:

For seizures not affecting consciousness/alertness (i.e. DVLA's "permitted seizures") the DVLA state:

For some types of awake seizure, you may be able to drive under a Group 1 licence after one year even if you are still having seizures. This is only if all of the following apply to you:

• you stay fully conscious during your seizures;

• your seizures do not stop you doing anything; and

• you have only ever had this type of seizure and have never had a seizure that affects your consciousness, attention and ability to act in any situation.

-- Does the 'ONE YEAR' mean one year from diagnosis or one year from the first seizure / experience, please? Thanks for any help!!

Submitted by Jre on

Hi 

Thank you for your questions.

The answer to your first question is yes. If you have seizures that don’t affect your consciousness, you might be able to drive even if you continue having seizures. The driving agency would need to be satisfied that:

•You remain fully alert and able to react during your seizures and

•Your seizures don’t affect your ability to control the vehicle and

•You have been having this type of seizure for at least 12 months and

•You have never had any other type of seizure.

 

Regarding when will the one year pattern start, it’s the date of your first known suspected seizure, not from your diagnosis.

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 rich on

My husband very recently had a seizure and has been advised that he cannot drive for six months. Will he still be able to accompany me as a learner driver during this time????? Someone asked this earlier on the forum but i could not see an answer. Also what do i tell the insurers? Please advise as otherwise followup hospital appointments will be a 30 mile round trip bus journey....

Submitted by Liz on

Hi Liz

Anyone supervising a learner driver needs to hold a current valid driving licence. As your husband isn’t allowed to hold a driving licence at the moment, legally he isn’t allowed to supervise you. 

If your husband is currently named on the car insurance, he will need to tell the insurer that he’s had to give up his driving licence. Many car insurance companies offer learner driver insurance, so you could get the car insured in your name. 

I can understand you’re worried about getting to hospital appointments. Do you have any friends or family who could either give your husband a lift, or alternatively sit in the car with you to supervise you driving? The government website explains who can supervise you. If the cost of getting to hospital is worrying you, you might be able to get help through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme

If your husband is diagnosed with epilepsy, he may be entitled to a free bus pass from his local council. 

Grace

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hello,

I am a HGV driver and had a seizure last week (whilst awake). I have never experienced this before , i was taken by ambulance to a hospital where they did blood tests and a CT scan which came back fine. I am currently waiting to see a neurologist.

My questions are:
1) I drive HGV for a living so if all test from the neurologist are clear can I continue driving or do I have to surrender my licence regardless?
2) if I do have to surrender my HGV licence, what support can I access as I have only ever done driving jobs. I heard that I may be able to get free travel around London is this correct?

Thank you

Submitted by Tracy on

Hi Tracy

It must have been a shock having a seizure out of the blue.  Having one seizure doesn’t necessarily mean you have epilepsy. Anyone can have a one-off seizure. Epilepsy is usually only diagnosed if someone has had more than one seizure, and doctors think it is likely they could have more.

However, you must stop driving and inform the DVLA about your seizure. When the specialist makes a diagnosis you can check what the driving regulations are for that condition.

On our website we have the driving regulations for an isolated seizure and epilepsy. You will also see there are different regulations for a HGV licence and a car licence.

If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, you can apply for a bus pass and rail card whilst you are unable to drive.

Unfortunately you will need to make a career change for the foreseeable future. On the work section of our website we have information on looking for work that could be of help to you. You may also find the government information on finding a job helpful.  

For advice on your financial situation you could contact Turn2us or your local Citizens Advice. They both can help you check you receive the financial help you are entitled to.

Website: turn2us.org.uk

Helpline: 0808 802 2000

Citizens Advice

Telephone advice in England: 0344 111 444

Telephone advice in Wales: 0344 77 20 20

Find your local Citizens Advice Bureau in Scotland

Find your local Citizens Advice Bureau in Northern Ireland

Website: citizensadvice.org.uk

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

Hello Diane

Thank you for your reply I found it really useful especially the list of places I can turn to for support and advice. I really appreciate the effort you made to provide such a thorough response

Kind regards

Tracy

Submitted by Tracy on

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

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