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driving and epilepsy

If you drive, one immediate effect of having a seizure is that you have to stop driving. This is true for all types of seizures, and whether you have a diagnosis of epilepsy or not. For many people, this can have a big impact on their life and it may be very difficult or upsetting.

Driving a carHow the driving standards apply to you will depend on the type of seizures you have now, the type of seizures you have had previously, and the type of licence you have (Group 1 or Group 2). Regulations also apply after just one ‘isolated seizure’.

More about the driving regulations for epilepsy

Answers to some of the questions that people with epilepsy may have about the practical application of the driving standards.

Use our interactive guide to find out how the driving regulations for people with epilepsy in the UK apply to you.

Driving standards if you have epilepsy and want to learn to drive

How to get car insurance if you have epilepsy

An outline of the current driving standards affecting people with epilepsy.

A list of the specific terms used by the DVLA in its documents, along with the definitions.

In brief

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the organisation that licenses cars and drivers for driving on public roads in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). If you have a driving licence, it is your duty to tell the DVLA about any medical condition that may affect your ability to drive, including epilepsy. This is a condition of holding a driving licence. If you have a driving licence and have a seizure of any kind you must stop driving.

You are responsible for telling the DVLA (opens new window) and returning your licence to them.

The driving standard cover all epileptic seizures:

  • auras and warnings;
  • seizures where you are conscious;
  • myoclonic seizures; and
  • seizures where you lose consciousness.

These standards apply even if you have only one seizure (an 'isolated seizure’), whether you have a diagnosis of epilepsy or not, and whether you are taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) or not.

Medical standards of fitness to drive

Epileptic seizures are specifically included in the Road Traffic Act 1988. This means that if you have one or more seizures, by law you must meet certain driving standards in order for you to have a driving licence.

The DVLA’s ‘At a glance guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive’ sets out the driving standards, advised by expert medical panels, and based on UK and European legislation. Only the medical advisers at the DVLA are able to decide whether or not someone meets the standards to drive.

A ‘Customer service guide for drivers with a medical condition' (opens new window) leaflet is available from the GOV.UK website.