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 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
It is your responsibility
It’s important to stop driving when you’ve had a seizure because:
- A seizure could affect your ability to drive safely
- If you continue driving, you will be breaking the law and could face prosecution
- Your car insurance will not cover you
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.
Particular information on reporting seizures to DVLA in Great Britain
How do I inform the driving agency that I have had a seizure and I have to stop driving?
There are two forms you need to complete:
- You can download a medical conditions form FEP1. Or you can write to, or telephone, the driving agency, telling them the date of your most recent seizure
- You will also need to complete the declaration of voluntary surrender form. Return this with your licence. It’s a good idea to either take a photocopy of your driving licence, or to make a note of your driving licence number. This information will be helpful if you reapply for your driving licence at a later date
It is now also possible for car drivers and motor cyclists in England, Scotland and Wales to report a seizure to DVLA online.
If you choose to report your seizure online, we recommend surrendering your licence before you complete the online form. This is to avoid your driving licence being revoked.
Advantages of sending your licence back voluntarily
There are two advantages of sending your driving licence back voluntarily. The first advantage is that you can start the process of reapplying for your driving licence 10 months after your last seizure. The other advantage is that you may be able to start driving again after 12 months even if you haven’t got your driving licence back yet. This would be possible if:
- The driving agency has received your application
- You meet the epilepsy and driving laws
- 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?
DVLA website: gov.uk/government/publications
If you decide not to send your licence back voluntarily
If you do not send your driving licence back voluntarily it will get revoked by the driving agency. There are particular disadvantages to this. If your driving 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 driving licence.
If the driving agency learns that you need to stop driving they will send you a form to complete and ask your permission to contact your doctor 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 driving licence is formally withdrawn and, if so, for how long. They will also ask you to send your driving licence back. This is known as ‘revoking’ your driving licence.
Particular information on reporting seizures to DVA in Northern Ireland
How do I inform the driving agency that I have had a seizure?
If you currently have any of the medical conditions or disabilities listed on the DVA website, you will need to tell DVA about these. To do this you will need to complete a DL1 application form. Then forward it to DVA who will send you the appropriate medical questionnaires to complete. DL1 forms are available from main Post Office branches. MOT test centres and DVA.
If you receive a medical questionnaire as a result of telling DVA of a condition, you will need to arrange for your doctor to complete the form. Your questionnaire will include a consent form that must be signed. This allows DVA to make medical enquiries into your fitness to drive.
With your medical questionnaire you will also receive a GP claim form. If your GP wants paying for the completion of the medical questionnaire, they have to complete the claim form and return it to DVA.
DVA will pay the appropriate fee to your GP or specialist for the completion of your medical form on the first occasion only. Payment for duplicates will be your responsibility.
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.
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.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank Edward Foxell at DVLA for his contribution to this information.
The DVLA has no conflict of interest.
This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.
- Updated April 2015To be reviewed April 2018