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Driving and seizures

Driving and seizures

Added: 3 August 2016, 16:28

 In light of recent media interest in court cases involving seizures and driving, take a look at the following information which summarises current regulations:

Epilepsy Scotland statement on seizures while driving:

Blackouts while driving may happen for a variety of reasons including a heart attack, a sudden change in blood pressure levels, hypoglycaemia, stroke or seizure.   Seizures can happen at any age and often without warning.   Not all seizures involve falling to the ground or shaking.  The sheer unpredictability of seizures means there is no way to screen for this.  The importance of getting an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy by an expert cannot be overstated.  

So if you experience any kind of blackout, funny turn, absent spells or twitches, it is important to tell your GP, who will likely refer you to a neurologist.  Sometimes a person’s family, friends or work colleagues are the first to spot subtle changes. Up to seven in 10 people can have their seizures well controlled with medication. 

Anyone who has a seizure of any kind must stop driving and inform the DVLA.  These regulations apply to ALL drivers, whether or not epilepsy has been confirmed.  You must also tell your insurance company. 

Equally, if you notice any change in your epilepsy after the DVLA permits you to drive again, you should stop driving straight away and see your GP or neurologist immediately to seek advice.  

The normal waiting time for ordinary licence holders is 12 months without a further seizure before a driving licence can be reinstated.  In a very few specific instances a neurologist may advise an earlier reinstatement by the DVLA.  

For more information, please phone our helpline on 0808 800 2200 or read our factsheet on epilepsy and driving