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driving regulations

Follow our interactive guide to see at a glance what the driving regulations mean for you.

What the driving regulations say

There are different driving regulations, depending on the type of seizures you have now, the type of seizures you have had previously, and what type of licence you have.

The driving regulations are different if you have had a first, single ‘isolated seizure’. See our page on DVLA terminology for the definitions used by the DVLA.

Group 1 licences

Also called an 'ordinary driving licence', this group includes cars, motorcycles and mopeds. To drive, you must meet all normal driving requirements and must have been completely free of seizures for one year, with or without taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

Different regulations may apply if you have only asleep seizures or your seizures do not affect your consciousness (see 'permitted seizures' below).

Group 2 licences

Also called a 'vocational licence', this group includes large goods vehicles (LGV or lorries), passenger carrying vehicles (PCV or buses and minibuses with nine seats or more) and horse boxes. You must meet all normal driving requirements and must have been seizure-free, without anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), for the last 10 years. The DVLA will also need to be satisfied that you are not likely to have any more seizures.

Taxi drivers

Local authorities set their own standards for taxi drivers, and some use the DVLA regulations for Group 2 licences for driving a taxi. 

Contact your local council for details.

Asleep seizures

‘Asleep seizures’ (sometimes called ‘nocturnal seizures’) are seizures that happen as you are falling asleep, while you are asleep, or as you are waking up. The term ‘asleep seizures’ might also apply if you have a seizure in your sleep during the day, if sleeping during the day is part of your normal routine (for example, if you do shift work).

• If you have an asleep seizure you must stop driving and contact the DVLA. If you are then seizure-free for one year you can apply for a new Group 1 licence, as you can for ‘awake seizures’.

• If you continue to have only asleep seizures you may be eligible to apply for a new Group 1 licence depending on the pattern of your seizures (see 'permitted seizures' below).

Permitted seizures

‘Permitted seizures’ are types of seizure where you can drive even if you are still having these seizures. The DVLA will send you a form (INS9) with more details about permitted seizures.

Awake seizures that do not affect consciousness, attention and the ability to act in any situation (including controlling a vehicle)
For some types of awake seizure, you may be able to drive under a Group 1 licence after one year even if you are still having seizures. This is only if all of the following apply to you:

• you stay fully conscious during your seizures;

• your seizures do not stop you doing anything; and

• you have only ever had this type of seizure and have never had a seizure that affects your consciousness, attention and ability to act in any situation.

Asleep seizures with no history of seizures when awake
If you have only ever had asleep seizures (and have never had an awake seizure), once this pattern of only asleep seizures has been seen for one year, you can apply for a Group 1 licence even if you still have these seizures. If you then have an awake seizure, you will need to stop driving and tell the DVLA.

Asleep seizures with a history of awake seizures
If you have had only asleep seizures over a period of three years since your last awake seizure, you can apply for a Group 1 licence, even if you still have asleep seizures.

It is important that this pattern of only asleep seizures is seen over at least three years, starting from the first asleep you have had since your last awake seizure. You will still need to tell the DVLA and your insurance company about your seizures.

Provoked seizures

If someone with no history of seizures or previous brain disease has a seizure caused by something that is unlikely to happen again, this may be a ‘provoked seizure’. This might include a seizure immediately at the time of a head injury or a stroke. The DVLA looks at these circumstances on an individual basis. Seizures caused by medication side effects, sleep deprivation, or alcohol or drug misuse are not usually considered provoked. If your first and only seizure was caused by alcohol or drug misuse, you will also need to meet the driving regulations for alcohol problems or drug misuse.

Seizures following a period of being seizure-free

If you have a seizure following a period of being seizure-free, and you have a history of seizures, you will need to stop driving and tell the DVLA. You will need to meet the medical driving standards for the type of licence you hold and the type of seizures you have.

Stopping or changing medication

If you are seizure-free and stop taking your anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), there is a risk that your seizures will start again. If you, with your doctor, decide to stop taking (withdraw) your AEDs, your doctor is likely to advise you to stop driving while you are withdrawing, and for six months after you have stopped your AEDs. Although this is not ‘the law’ it is recommended by the DVLA.

If you continue to drive and you have a seizure you will need to stop driving and tell the DVLA. If you go back onto the same medication at the same dose as you were on before, and are seizure-free and on this medication for six months, you can apply for a new licence.

If you are changing from one medication to another, and your doctor feels it is likely to be as effective, you do not usually need to stop driving unless advised to do so by your doctor. However, if you have a seizure you will need to stop driving and tell the DVLA. If you go back onto the same medication at the same dose as you were on before, and are seizure-free and on this medication for six months, you can apply for a new licence.

 

Isolated seizures

There are specific DVLA driving standards for people after an isolated epileptic seizure or first unprovoked seizure.

Group 1 licence: you must stop driving and tell the DVLA. You may be allowed to start driving again after six months if you have had no further seizures and there are no clinical factors (such as a scar on the brain) or results from investigations (such as an EEG) which suggest a high risk of you having another seizure.

Group 2 licence: you must stop driving and tell the DVLA. You may be allowed to start driving again after five years if you have seen a specialist and there are no clinical factors (such as a scar on the brain) or results from investigations (such as an EEG) which suggest a high risk of you having another seizure. You must not have been prescribed anti-epileptic drugs during the five years before applying for a new licence.

If you feel that these standards apply to you, you can talk to your specialist or call the DVLA’s drivers medical enquiries number on 0300 790 6806.

Note: these standards only apply to people who have had a first unprovoked and single, isolated seizure (or seizures which all occurred within a 24 hour period). They do not apply to people diagnosed with epilepsy who have had another seizure within the last five years (Group 1 licence) or ten years (Group 2 licence).

Vehicles which need no licence

Forklift trucks, farm vehicles and sit-on lawn mowers on private land

The DVLA medical standards cover vehicles that are driven on public highways, not vehicles that are used on private land. A driving licence is not needed for the following vehicles as long as they are only being driven on private land and not on public roads: forklift trucks, farm vehicles (such as tractors and quad bikes), and sit-on lawn mowers. Employers need to consider health and safety regulations if someone drives these vehicles on private land as part of their job. The Health and Safety Executive advises driving standards for these vehicles that are similar to Group 1 and 2 standards, depending on their size and weight. If these vehicles are driven on public highways a driving licence would be needed.

Electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters

There are two ‘classes’ of electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters (or ‘invalid carriages’). Class 2 can’t be used on the road, and ‘class 3’ can be used on the road. You don’t need to have a licence for either class, but you need to register and tax class 3 as it can be used on the road (although you won’t have to pay for this). Your doctor may be able to advise whether these wheelchairs or scooters are safe for you to use.

Non-epileptic seizures

If you have a non-epileptic seizure you will need to stop driving and tell the DVLA. If your seizures then become controlled, and your doctors and the DVLA are satisfied that you are unlikely to have another seizure, you may be able to apply for a new Group 1 licence.

 

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Taken from our Driving and travel leaflet. Order this leaflet from our online shop as part of our 'first five free' offer.