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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 £1,000
  • 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 tell the driving agency if you don't tell them yourself. Doctors have a duty to protect their patients’ confidentiality. But they can break that confidentiality if they think you are putting yourself or others at risk of death or serious harm.

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 the case even if the driving agency is still dealing with your application. See our information about reapplying for your licence for more details.

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 must not 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 not available for group 2 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: 
B005.07

Epilepsy Action would like to thank DVLA for contributing to this information. 

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

  • Updated March 2019
    To be reviewed March 2022

Comments: read the 27 comments or add yours

Comments

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

In January and April 2018 I had two nocturnal seizures. After the first one I surrendered my license. 8 weeks in advance of the 12 month mark (for the April seizure) I sent my application to get my license back. A couple of weeks later I received a letter informing me they have contacted the neurologist I saw and they have up to 6 weeks to respond. I am a bit dismayed that I may not get my license back at the 12 month mark! It has been an extremely stressful year, I have had to rely on friends giving me lifts to work (going out of their way), if I want to take my son (3 years old) anywhere I walk or take the bus, if I want to do anything in the evenings I have to rely on friends, I have to walk to the supermarket and luckily have a trolley on wheels I can use. I am also in the process of separating from my husband and so I really feel stuck and like I have no control over my life. Investigations have shown that there is no neurological cause for the seizures. I have been diagnosed with a heart condition and have had an operation to fit a heart monitor. Is there any way I can check the status of my application or speed it up? This has been affecting my mental health and my work and home life for over a year now and I want to try and get back to normal a little bit!
Thanks for listening. I don’t know what I can do or where I can turn x x

Submitted by Rebecca Wooding on

Hi Rebecca

It can be really frustrating waiting for the DVLA to go through their processes so you can start driving again. We are keenly aware what a huge impact having or not having your driving licence can have on you.

If you surrendered your licence you don’t need to actually have your licence back before you can start driving again. So do check our information about what you need in place to be able to start driving again. Because it sounds like you may already have everything in place you need to be able to drive again. This would be once you got to the date in April that you had your last seizure.

I hope that helps.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

Hi there, I had my last seizure 23rd June 2018. I'm hoping I can drive in 6 weeks, application been sent to DVLA too. My query is please, can I drive on 23rd or 24th June with DVLA authorisation? Thank you for your advice!

Submitted by Poppy45 on

Hi Poppy

You will probably be able to drive. You do need to meet certain conditions. These are laid out in our driving information.

The main issue is whether you surrendered your licence or DVLA had to ask for you to send it back.

If you surrendered your licence

If you surrendered your licence you may be able to start driving again as soon as you meet the epilepsy driving rules, while you're waiting to receive your new licence. This would be possible if:

  • The driving agency has received your application and
  • There are no other medical or legal reasons why you should not be driving

Full information about this is available in the leaflet INF188/6 - Can I drive while my application is with DVLA? (England, Scotland and Wales). Information for drivers in Northern Ireland is available on the NI direct website.

So if all this is in place then yes you will be able to drive again from 23 June.

If DVLA had to ask for your licence back then you will need to wait until you actually have your licence back before you can drive again.

I hope that’s clear for you.

Regards

Cherry  

Epilepsy Action Helpline Team

Submitted by rich on

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