What the driving regulations mean for you
This guide is for people who have epilepsy and covers Group 1 (driving drive cars, mopeds and motorbikes) and Group 2 (large lorries and buses) licences.
You can also use our interactive guide to find out how the driving regulations apply to you.
When you need to stop driving
What do I need to do if I have a seizure?
If you have a driving licence, and have a seizure of any kind, you must stop driving and tell the DVLA. Unless you and your doctors consider that your seizures are likely to meet the criteria for permitted or provoked seizures, you should fill in a ‘Declaration of Surrender for Medical Reasons’ form and return your licence to the DVLA. If you have a Group 2 licence, you also need to fill in a VOC99 form. It may be useful to keep a copy of what you send to the DVLA for your records.
What happens if I continue to drive?
Your licence will not be valid. You will be driving illegally, as driving without a valid licence is a criminal offence.
Your car insurance will not be valid. Because of this you may have to pay the costs of a claim from another person.
What happens if I don’t tell the DVLA?
If you don't voluntarily return your licence and are found to be driving, the DVLA may be told and your licence revoked (taken away). You may also be fined. Telling the DVLA and returning your licence can help speed up your application for a new licence.
Will my doctor tell the DVLA?
If you have a seizure it is your responsibility to tell the DVLA. Guidelines from the General Medical Council (which registers doctors in the UK) tell doctors to explain that it is your legal duty to tell the DVLA, and they will write this in your medical records. If you continue to drive, they can break confidentiality and tell the DVLA, due to the continued risk to you and to members of the public. They should tell you if they are going to do this.
What can I do if the DVLA revokes my licence?
If the DVLA revokes your licence or refuses your reapplication for a licence, you can appeal against this decision. You need to make your appeal in writing. In England and Wales, this needs to be at a magistrates’ court within six months of the DVLA’s decision, and in Scotland, within 21 days at a Sheriff’s Court. You or your doctor may be able to provide further medical evidence for the DVLA to consider.
How do I get a new licence?
Once you meet the DVLA medical standards to drive, you can apply for a new or first licence. For a Group 1 licence you will need to fill in a D1 and FEP1 application form, and for a Group 2 licence you need D2 and FEP1 forms.
If possible, the DVLA will decide whether you can have a driving licence based on the information you provide in these forms. The FEP1 form asks for your permission for the DVLA to contact your doctor if they need any further information before giving you a new licence. For a first Group 2 licence, you will need to pay for the medical form to be completed.
As the process of issuing a licence can take time, you can apply for your licence up to eight weeks before you would normally be eligible to drive. If you surrendered your licence, you may be able to start driving again as soon as you reach the seizure-free period, as long as your doctor confirms that you meet the medical standards to drive and the DVLA confirms that it has received your application. The DVLA will do this by sending you a ‘Section 88 letter’.
If your licence was revoked you will not be able to drive until the DVLA sends you a new licence.
You will not usually need to take your driving test again.
What sort of licence will I get?
When you get your new licence, it will usually be valid for between one and five years. If you are then seizure-free for five years, you may be given a Group 1 licence which is valid until you are 70. This is called a ‘til 70’ licence. Under certain circumstances a 'til 70' licence may be issued without first having a one to five year licence. Once the DVLA confirms that you can have a driving licence, you can drive any vehicle that your licence covers.
Telling your car insurance company
If you stop driving due to a seizure, you need to tell your insurance company as part of your insurance terms and conditions. If you don’t tell them, and they find out that you stopped driving, this may affect your insurance in the future. Insurance companies can ask questions or for more information about medical conditions to support your application. They may ask to see your driving licence or a letter from the DVLA confirming that you are allowed to drive.
Under the Equality Act 2010, insurance companies cannot increase the cost of a policy if a medical condition does not affect the risk of making a claim, and they need to consider your individual circumstances. Insurance companies cannot use the fact that you have a three-year licence as a reason for increasing the premium, or changing or refusing a policy. If the company increases your premium, they must be able to tell you why. This should mean that each application is considered fairly.
Visit equalityhumanrights.com for more about the Equality Act.
If you have not been driving for two years, this may affect any no-claims discount you had before.
Can I drive abroad?
If you meet the DVLA medical standards and have a UK driving licence, you can drive under this licence in the UK, countries in the European Economic Area and the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. You may also need an International Driving Permit for some non-EU countries. To drive abroad, you must also meet the medical standards for driving, for the country you visit.
If you are coming to the UK and need to apply, or reapply, for a UK licence, then the regulations in this leaflet will apply to you.
If you are not sure whether or how the driving regulations apply to you, you can call our epilepsy helpline to talk through your situation. Alternatively, you can contact the DVLA directly:
- Drivers' medical enquiries, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1TU
- 0300 790 6801 (general enquiries)
- 0300 790 6806 (drivers' medical enquiries)
- DVLA website
Taken from our Driving and travel leaflet. Order this leaflet from our online shop as part of our ‘first five free’ offer. This leaflet is currently out of stock in our shop but you can download a pdf copy below or call our helpline for a copy on 01494 601400.