If you would like to talk to someone about epilepsy, our trained advisers are here to help.
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Do I have to stop driving?
If you have a seizure of any kind, you must stop driving and tell the driving agency. If you don’t:
- You could be fined up to £1,000
- You could have a seizure while driving. This could put you and others in danger, and you could be prosecuted
- Your car insurance is unlikely to cover you
- Your doctor could report you to the driving agency and your licence will be revoked. Doctors can break confidentiality if they think you are putting yourself or others at risk.
Exception to this rule:
The only exception to this rule is for people who have already been given permission to drive with their type of seizures. For this to apply, the driving agency must already know about your seizures, and have given you permission to drive while having them. Find out more about this on our page about the driving rules.
How do I tell the driving agency?
You can tell the driving agency about your epilepsy by surrendering your licence. The driving agencies say you should surrender your driving licence if any of these things apply to you:
- Your doctor tells you to stop driving for 3 months or more
- Your medical condition affects your ability to drive safely and lasts for 3 months or more
- You do not meet the required standards for driving because of your medical condition
Surrendering your licence is not permanent. If you meet the rules for driving in the future, you can apply to get it back.
How to surrender your licence
Licences issued by DVLA (England, Scotland and Wales)
- Take a note of your driving licence number (or take a photo or photocopy). This will help if you reapply in the future
- Fill in the form Declaration of surrender for medical reasons (for car and motorbike licences) or form VCERT (for bus and lorry licences)
- Send the form to the DVLA along with your driving licence
Licences issued by DVA (Northern Ireland)
- Take a note of the driving licence number (or take a photo or photocopy). This will help if you reapply in the future
- Send both parts of your licence, with a letter explaining why you are surrendering it, to the DVA. See their website for the address.
Important: you don’t need to fill in other forms
When you surrender your licence, you don’t need to do anything else or fill in any other forms until you are ready to reapply.
Be aware that the DVLA website gives you the option to tell them about your epilepsy by filling in an online form, or sending them a form called an FEP1 in the post.
If you fill in the online form (or send them the FEP1) at a time when you don’t meet the standards for driving, your licence will be revoked (taken away). See below for why this matters.
What’s the difference between surrendering my licence and having it revoked?
Surrendering your licence means you send it to the driving agency voluntarily (without being asked). If your licence is revoked, it means the driving agency has told you to give up your licence.
There is a big benefit to surrendering your 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. See our information about reapplying for your licence for more details.
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, and
- You’ve got your licence back in the post
This can take weeks or months, depending on how busy the driving agency is and how long the medical enquiries take.
When can I get my licence back?
Most people with epilepsy need to be seizure free for 12 months to hold a standard car driving licence. But there are different rules depending on what type of seizures you have, and when they happen. There are also stricter rules for driving heavier vehicles like buses and lorries.
See our information about the driving rules to find out when you may be able to drive again.
Other ways to tell the driving agency
If you think you meet the medical standards for epilepsy, you might choose to tell the driving agency about your seizures without surrendering your licence. The driving agency will 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.
If you’re not sure if you meet the driving rules, speak to your doctor for advice. The Epilepsy Action Helpline can also help explain the rules.
Licences issued by the DVLA (England, Scotland and Wales)
If you choose not to surrender your licence, you have 2 options for telling the DVLA about your seizures:
Licences issued by the DVA (Northern Ireland)
If you choose not to surrender your licence, you can report your seizures to DVA by phone on 0300 200 7861 or email. They will then send you a medical questionnaire to complete.
Do I need to tell my insurer?
You need to have a valid driving licence for most insurance policies, so you must tell your insurer that you’ve had to stop driving. If you don’t, your insurance may not cover you if you make a claim.
If you keep a car on the road, you must have insurance for it, but this can be difficult without a driving licence. You may be able to put your insurance into someone else’s name, for example a friend or family member. Check with your insurance provider if this is an option.
If you are able to keep your car off the road (for example in a garage), you can register it as off the road. This is sometimes called a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). You don’t have to insure vehicles that are registered off the road. But you may still want to insure it against damage or theft. Some companies sell insurance for this, called SORN or ‘laid up’ insurance.
What help is available if I can’t drive?
Free or reduced bus and train travel
If you’ve had to stop driving because of your epilepsy, you are entitled to a disabled person’s bus pass to get you free bus travel (in England, Scotland and Wales) or reduced price travel (in Northern Ireland).
Each part of the UK has a different scheme and way of applying:
You can also get a disabled person’s railcard. This gets you a third off the price of rail fares in England, Scotland and Wales. Find out more and apply online.
Help with travel costs to work
The Access to Work scheme may help to pay for taxi fares to and from work if you can’t use public transport.
England, Scotland and Wales: The gov.uk website has more information about Access to Work.
Northern Ireland: nidirect has more information about the Access to Work (NI) scheme.
Changes at work
Most people with epilepsy are classed as disabled under the equality laws. This means employers have a legal duty to make changes at work if you need them to help you do your job. This is called making reasonable adjustments.
If you’re not allowed to drive, reasonable adjustments that might help include:
- Letting you start work at a time that allows you to get the bus
- Moving you to office-based duties that don’t involve driving
- Teaming you up with someone who can drive
- Letting you work from home, or at an office that’s easier to get to by public transport
Talk to your employer about any changes you might need. Our employer toolkit can help with this conversation.
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