We exist to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

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 have had a seizure. Do I need to stop driving and inform the driving agency?

If you have a suspected seizure at any time, the law says you must stop driving and inform the driving agency.

There are two exceptions to this. You are allowed to continue 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 have only ever had seizures that don’t affect your consciousness, and the seizure you have just had didn’t affect your consciousness.

Why should I stop driving and inform the driving agency that I have had a seizure?

It is your responsibility
It is your responsibility to stop driving and tell the driving agency if you have had a seizure. If you don’t, you are breaking the law. Also, your current licence may not be valid and you may find your insurance will not cover you if you make a claim.

Other people may tell the driving agency
Although it is your responsibility to inform the driving agency, if you don’t do this and carry on driving, anyone could report this to them. 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 inform the driving agency that I have had a seizure and I have to stop driving?

You should write to, or telephone, the driving agency, telling them the date of your most recent seizure.

You may choose to send your licence back voluntarily to the driving agency, with your letter. If you do, it’s a good idea to either take a photocopy of your licence, or to make a note of your licence number. This information will be helpful if you reapply for your licence at a later date.

If you decide to send your licence back voluntarily

If you decide to send your driving licence back voluntarily, you don’t have to do anything further at this stage. But remember, you can no longer legally drive.

The advantage of sending your licence back voluntarily is that when you meet the epilepsy driving regulations again, you can start driving. This is even if you don’t have your driving licence back. Also, sending your licence in voluntarily means that you can ask the driving agency to start processing your application from 10 months after your last seizure.

In this case, you are allowed to drive as long as:

  • 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 you decide not to send your licence back voluntarily

The driving agency will send you a form to complete and ask your permission to contact your doctor(s) for a medical report. In some cases they may ask for you to be examined by one of their nominated medical practitioners. The driving agency will then write and tell you whether or not your licence is formally withdrawn and, if so, for how long. They will also ask you to send your licence back. This is known as ‘revoking’ your licence.

If your licence was revoked by the driving agency, they can only start processing your application 12 months after your last seizure. What's more, you can only start driving again when you meet the epilepsy driving regulations and you have your new licence.

Pay it forward

This resource is freely available as part of Epilepsy Action’s commitment to improving life for all those affected by epilepsy.

On average it costs £414 to produce an advice and information page – if you have valued using this resource, please text FUTURE to 70500 to donate £3 towards the cost of our future work. Terms and conditions. Thank you

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 39 comments or add yours

Comments

I have to say how confusing. The DVLC guidance is as I gave my licence up voluntarily October 2011. My specialist said the DVLC will write to him he will reply and that will be it . The DVLC said initially this can take 3 weeks so 3 weeks before the year was up I sent in the relevant forms. I then had a reply from the DVLC stating they had written to my specialist and this could take up to 6 weeks. I have been thinking any day now I will get my licence as it is now 5 weeks. Today received a letter from DVLC (3 lines) stating they have received the info from my specialist and now said it goes to their medical advisor which can now take a further 8 weeks!!! Why state 3 weeks initially when in fact it could be 17 weeks!!

Submitted by Kevin Thorn on

I am about six months into my year without driving. I haven't actual handed my licence in to the DVLC though I havent driven since the first of two seizures. Should I send in my licence in now and will it affect when I can drive again?

Submitted by RMP on

Hi RMP

The law says that if you have a seizure you must not only stop driving but inform the driving agency. Therefore, it would be advisable for you to surrender your licence to the DVLA (England, Scotland or Wales) or the DVA (Northern Ireland) . If you surrender your licence, this should not affect your return to driving date.

Regards
Diane
Advice and Information team.

Submitted by AndyWeb on

I found this information very good as I to have been told 12 months with this now in mind I will be applying 2 months beforehand.

Submitted by marc on

I have submitted my application 8 wks before the legal date that i can drive again due to information from this site. I would not have known that I could do this if this site had not stipulated that fact.
Thank you, I so look forward to receiving my licence :-)

Submitted by Cathy wolstenholme on

Can anyone tell me when I can reapply? I have history of epilepsy and was clear for 13 years then I had 2 seizures last July and handed my licence in voluntarily! While changing my medication in September I had a absent seizure but with the new rules and regs regarding epilepsy and driving I don't know if I have to wait till July or September to reapply!

Submitted by Rachel Philipson on

Hi Rachel

There are some new driving rules. One of these is about having a seizure because a doctor has advised you to change the dose or type of your epilepsy medicine. If, during this time, you have a seizure, then you go back to the original dose of medicine (on which you had been seizure-free), you may be able to apply or re-apply for your licence once you’ve been six months free from seizures.

However, because of these new rules and how each case can vary, the driving agency will assess each case individually. So, it's up to the driving agency to say if you can have your driving licence back and when this might be. If you go to the first page of our driving section, this gives information on the new rules about epilepsy and driving. http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving

Rosanna
Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna@Epileps... on

who completes the medical form is it GP or specialist epilepsy nurse or neurologist. Just thought it might speed process if I go to the right person first time.

Submitted by Mandy on

Hi Mandy

The best contact person to put on the form is your neurologist. Then when you have returned the form to the DVLA, they will contact them. Hope that helps.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

I handed in my license last year after having undiagnosed partial seizure epilepsy for 10 years, during this time I have never lost consciousness or my ability to function. When I handed my license in I sent a note explaining the reasons I felt still able to drive. The rules have clearly changed since then but no-one lets you know. My work and family life have both been compromised by my losing my license and I feel this lack of information is most unfair.

Submitted by Jo on

I handed my licence in last November (2012) because of a grand mal seizure. I've since had further seizures, but I haven't informed the DVLA. I wasn't going to reapply for my licence until I was seizure free for a year. Do I still need to tell them of my seizures?
Also my friend asked me how long I have till I drive again, I told her and she said she thought it had been extended to a 2 year ban? She just scared me and wondered whether she could be right?

Submitted by Sonya on

Hi Sonya

You don’t need to inform the DVLA every time you have a seizure. When you come to reapply for your licence after being seizure free for one year, there will be a medical questionnaire to fill in. On the medical questionnaire, you will need to give details about your last seizure. You will also have to give the driving agency consent to do a medical enquiry and give them the name of a doctor who can provide a medical report.

When you are allowed to drive depends on the type of seizures that you have. Generally you need to be seizure free for one year from the time of your last seizure before you can reapply for your licence.

There are some differences in the rules depending on what type of seizures you have.

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.

Here is our information about the driving rules for epilepsy. http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/stopping-driving

You may also find our information about how to get your licence back useful. http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/driving/reviews-appeals#how

Vicky Morris

Advice & Information Team

Submitted by Vicky on

Hi,
I had a seizure in February 2013 I'm now half way through. I haven't sent my license in but the DVLA are aware as the doctor wrote to the DVLA and the DVLA wrote to me saying you need to fill this form in. I sent that back and they basically replied by saying I cannot drive. I did not read anywhere that I should send my license in. What is the best course of action as it is Essential that I drive again as my job entails driving to two places of work per day. Any help would be great thanks.

Submitted by Charles Russell on

Hi Charles

The driving rules and regulations can be difficult to understand, but I hope the information below will help.

In this section of our website, under the heading, If you decide not to send your licence back voluntarily it does explain about sending the driving licence back. If it is found that someone can’t drive because of epilepsy, to our understanding, the DVLA will ask them to send their licence back. I’m not sure why this was missing from your DVLA letter, when they said you can’t drive. However, to make the process easier for yourself when you reapply for your licence, it would be advisable to send it back now. You could put a covering letter with your licence saying you will reapply for your driving licence once you fulfill the driving law. You will be able to drive once you have received your driving licence from the DVLA and you are at least 12 months seizure free.  However, you can start the process of reapplying once you’ve been 10 months seizure free.

The current driving licence you hold is invalid. The date of renewal on this licence is around your birthday, when you are 70 years old. They will need your driving licence to change this renewal date. Your new licence will be valid for up to three years because of your diagnosis of epilepsy. Once you have been seizure free for 5 years you will again get your licence back with your original renewal date on it.

Rosanna

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Rosanna on

Hi iv just been diginosed with epilepsy iv surrender my liance to the dvla after my year is up would I have to retake my test?? Thankyou

Submitted by Stacey on

Hi Stacey

No, you won’t have to re-take your driving test.

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

hi there..im at the 10months stage are just about to post my application..but im unclear on whats been written

''Also, sending your licence in voluntarily means that you can ask the driving agency to start processing your application from 10 months after your last seizure.

In this case, you are allowed to drive as long as:

•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.''

does this mean ill be able to drive soon as my doctor has given me the all clear and the dvla have received my application? im a bit confused?

Submitted by charlie on

Hi Charlie

Just to clarify, from the information you have given, you can drive again, once you have been seizure-free for 12 months. And you don’t have to wait until you are in receipt of your driving licence.

Kathy

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Kathy on

Hi, I must say i am confused by the law.
My wife has had a seizure and told not to drive for six months. No diagnosis as yet. She has been told to inform the DVLA. Could you clarify if in first instance she should just A) write a letter B) fill in a specific DVLA form or C) surrender her licence voluntarily or D) all of the above.
Your advice re sending the licence back voluntarily seems to apply to one year driving bans but we are wondering what is the best course of action for a six month ban in driving. Many thanks

Submitted by Rick on

Hi Rick

Thank you for your message

The driving rules can be very confusing.

Because your wife has had a single or isolated seizure the driving rules say that she should stop driving and inform the driving agency.

Your wife should write to, or telephone, the driving agency, telling them the date of her most recent seizure.

Here is the link to the contact details for the driving agencies.

Because she has had an isolated seizure she you may be allowed to drive when she has been seizure free for at least six months, if her consultant thinks it is unlikely she will have another seizure and the driving agency is satisfied that as a driver she is not likely to be a source of danger to the public

If the DVLA need your wife’s licence they will write to her.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

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 am epileptic been seizure free for 6 years. I'm pregnant and after taking a GTT test (glucose tolerance test) I suffered a seizure. Do you think DVLA will look into this as a provoked or isolated incident. I've handed licence in. Driving is massive part of my life.

Thank you.

Submitted by Gemma on

Hi Gemma

Thank you for your message

Being unable to drive after all this time must be really frustrating. If you think the driving agency may class your seizure as provoked, (due to the circumstances of your GTT) 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.

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 Officer

Submitted by Vicky on

I had fit/seizure 5 months ago due to alcohol withdrawal. I was treated in hospital and have been free of both since. I was told by the GP that I couldn't drive for six months, which I haven't and came on this site to see if there was anything I needed to do for after the six month. I wasn't aware I had to notify the DVLA (the doctor did say that if I drove during the 6 months I may invalidate my insurance if I didn't inform them first, which I didn't as I had no plans to drive) . What should I do now that I read this information? What applies to my case? Thanks

Submitted by David on

Hi David

It would be advisable to talk to the DVLA. They will explain what you need to do. It may be you will not be able to drive until the DVLA has looked into your situation. Unfortunately, this may take you past your six month seizure free date.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi my parter has had 2 grand mal seizures, one in June and another in August (2013) his neurologist informed him that he should stop driving for 12 months and to Inform dvla. He hasn't informed dvla as he thought his go would of done it not realising he was meant to. he has just stopped driving until he is seizure free for a year. If he informed dvla now, would they stop him from driving for a year from the date of his last seizure or the date he informed them??? He doesn't want to inform them if they are going to add an extra few months for the time he never informed them.

Submitted by Melissa on

Hi Melissa

Thank you for your question.

Your partner must inform the DVLA about his epilepsy diagnosis. If he doesn’t, he is breaking the law. Also, his current licence may not be valid and he may find his insurance will not cover him if you make a claim.

Your partner will not have to stop driving for another year. The DVLA will use the date of his last seizure, not when he informed them. The DVLA will confirm when he can drive again.

If he voluntarily surrenders his licence, he will get his new licence back sooner than someone who had their licence revoked.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Iv waited 21 year and a bit iv got 5months left till I can apply. I want to apply because I don't want to be stuck to busses all my life I want to have the experience of driving but I don't want to hurt someone or worse and that been on my concerus what the best to do

Submitted by hannah on

Hi I know someone who has epilepsy but is on medication and has been for 8 years without any problems / seizures, he recently changed jobs and has different working hours and unfortunately forgot to take his tablets for a couple of days therefore he had a seizure for about 2minutes but is fine now. Does he have to inform the DVLA even though he knows that his own stupidity caused it.

Thank you
Bev

Submitted by Bev Barry on

Hi Bev

This person does have to inform the DVLA. As explained on this page, he can voluntary surrender it or have it revoked. There is a new driving regulation he may wish to check out. It may be  relevant to him. It is for people who only ever have seizures when awake, but the seizure does NOT affect their consciousness . If this applies to him he may be able to still drive. But he must still contact the DVLA.

If we can be of any more help, to you or the individual please feel free to contact us again, either by email or the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi my son has applied for his 1st provisional driving licence but its all so confusing. He has epilepsy last seizure 1st feb 2013 dr has given the ok to apply. Have sent off forms along with medical form filled in & payment, payment hs cleared, id has come back but the dvla are still saying that they still have to write to dr to check medical before they issue licence. Please help how long does this take & why have they already took payment? Many thanks

Submitted by vanessa on

Hi Vanessa

As a general rule the DVLA say to allow 8 weeks. Sometimes it can be longer, if the DVLA need information for doctor

I would imagine they have taken payment as they are processing his licence.

The best people to give you a more definite answer to your questions would be the DVLA.

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.

Yours sincerely

Diane

Submitted by Diane on

Hi,

I have been seizure free for 14 months and just received my driving licence back. Two weeks ago I suffered another seizure and the blood tests hae revealed that there was a very low dosage of lamotrogine in my blood which my consultant has told me is a result of being 8 months pregnant. If I can get the levels restored to what they were pre pregnancy is it likely that DVLA will allow me to get my licence back in 6 months as we know that it was due to a reduction in drugs?

Submitted by Kelly Clarke on

Hi Kelly

It’s not the official interpretation of the driving and epilepsy rules. They are about you and the doctor making a considered decision to reduce epilepsy medicine.

I’m afraid it is unlikely the DVLA would think you fitted into that category. This is because they would be unlikely to consider the blood test results for lamotrigine levels to be useful enough on their own. And more importantly, they may consider your changing hormone levels to be too much of a seizure risk to have your licence back before 12 months.

I’m sorry this is not likely to be the response you wanted. But I wouldn’t want you get your hopes up without cause.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

I was riding a motorbike on a provisional license and CBT when my absence seizures started again in 2011. I'm finally coming up to a year seizure free (and 3 months on stable meds) however I didn't inform the DVLA or send my license in and I was never contacted by them requesting my license. I just stopped driving and didn't think about it. My provisional expired anyway last year so is invalid. - What do I do? Do I still need to send it in? I want to reapply for a new provisional, would it be easier to just reapply for a normal one and fill in medical forms and send it in additionally? I didn't receive a letter so it hasn't been revoked - if you don't send it in, what happens?

Many thanks

Submitted by Lizzie on

Hi Lizzie

When you reapply for your provisional licence, it would be advisable to return your old licence. By completing the medical form, the DVLA can update your driving records.  The fact you are telling them now, rather than at the time of your diagnosis, shouldn’t have an effect on you getting your licence back. But it would be advisable to explain you haven’t driven in a covering letter.

For future reference, when your medical details change, it’s your responsibility to contact the DVLA. You will find information on ‘reporting seizures to the driving agency’ on our website should the situation ever happen again.

Regards

Diane Wallace

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Diane on

Hi, I had a nocturnal seizure 16 months ago and surrendered my licence. I waited 16 months to get my licence back and it is for three years. I had a further nocturnal seizure last week, do I have to surrender the licence again? its all very confusing and i am being told different things, thanks for your help, Judy

Submitted by judy copping on

Hi Judy

The answer to your question depends on what type of licence you got back.

If you got a licence based on having sleep seizures only, then as long as you only have sleep seizures in the future you do not need to inform the DVLA.

If you got your licence back on the basis of having been seizure-free for a year, you will have to stop driving and inform the DVLA. If you have only ever had sleep seizures, you will already be able to apply for a licence on that basis. It’s just that this may not be the licence you currently have.

I do hope that’s clear. But if it would be easier to talk through, please feel free to contact us again, on the Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050. 

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Cherry on

I had a seizure when I was 17, during a time that I was learning to drive, with a provisional license. Since then, I have had approx 5 seizures in the last 10 years - none at all since March 2011.

For the last few years, I have been living and working in France, and have not been on any medication at all, after I was advised to come off this back in 2011, when recovering from some surgery.

I am now back living in the UK, 28yrs old, and not having had even a hint of a seizure for over 3 years. I want to apply to learn to drive again, having never held a license in the first place.

Never having passed my test all those years ago, I find myself in the situation of filling out another application form for a license. I'm unclear whether I should advise that I have epilepsy or not, as this was never advised to the DVLA when it arose when I was 17, as I have never has a license to surrender in the first place. I haven't been on medication for over 3 yrs, and having just moved back to the UK after some time away, have no real medical records for the interim period here - I'm not even registered with a doctor at present.

Do I need to declare this or not? I don't have any medical history of annual check ups etc for the last 3-4yrs, having been abroad, so I'm a little unclear as to what sort of attestation a doctor would even be able to provide if indeed this was required at all...

Submitted by Chris on

Dear Chris

The epilepsy and driving laws say that as long as you have been seizure-free for 12 months or more, you will meet the requirements.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Register with a family doctor
  • Tick the box for yes you have epilepsy. This is because it is possible for seizures to return even after a number of years.
  • Write a covering letter explaining your situation

Make sure you answer ALL the questions though, even if you are unsure how. This is because if you don’t, they will just send it back and the whole process will take much longer. And make sure your covering letter is clearly linked to your form.

I hope it ends up going smoothly for you.

Cherry

Advice and Information Team

Submitted by Jude@epilepsy action on

Contact Author

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.