Driving

If you have had one seizure, no matter what kind, including an aura sensation, you must stop driving and by law notify the DVLA (Driving Vehicle Licensing Authority) of your seizure.  After twelve months with no seizures (with or without taking medication) you can apply to get your ordinary car licence reinstated.

In addition, your doctor will also need to be satisfied that you are safe to drive again.  Different, often stricter rules apply for other types of licences.

Anyone who has only sleep seizures but never any seizures while awake will usually get their licence back after a qualifying period, even if they continue to have sleep seizures.  For one off or provoked seizures, the DVLA can apply some discretion which means a person may get their licence back sooner than the required one year.

Losing your driving licence after a seizure can be difficult to cope with and may have a big impact on your life.  If you have to give up your licence due to epilepsy, you will be entitled to a free nationwide bus pass in Scotland.  You can also buy a Disabled Person’s Railcard which gives you one third off long-distance rail fares throughout the UK.

There are also schemes designed to support people with severe mobility and other problems to travel independently as either a driver or a passenger.  The Blue Badge Scheme allows you to use special disabled parking spaces and to park where other drivers cannot.  Your local council can give you more details on this scheme and how to apply for a Blue Badge.

 

Safe driving

Once you have your license back, take extra care to minimise any risk of seizures returning.  This includes:

  • avoid driving when you are tired as tiredness and lack of sleep can sometimes trigger a seizure
  • avoid driving for many hours at a time for the same reason as above
  • do not go for long periods without food or drink as this can sometimes trigger a seizure
  • do not drive if you have missed a dose of your epilepsy medication or have taken it too late as this makes you more vulnerable to breakthrough seizures
  • do not drive if the side effects of your medication affect your ability to drive safely
  • do not drink alcohol and drive; if you take epilepsy medication, even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive

For more information read our Epilepsy and driving publication.

Public transport

Free Scotland wide bus pass

Anyone in the UK aged 16 and over who has had a seizure in the last 12 months and is receiving treatment for epilepsy will be entitled to a free Scotland wide bus pass (National Entitlement Card).

A child or young person of fare paying age (aged five and over) but under 16 can also get a companion card if they are in receipt of qualifying benefits.  There are plans to extend the availability of companion cards to children under five, but the legislation has not come into force yet.

The bus pass is usually valid for one year, after which time you can get it renewed if you have had one seizure in the last 12 months.

Find out more and how to apply for a free bus pass in our National Entitlement Card Scotland (bus pass) publication. We have separate information for those aged 5-15 and those aged 16 and over.

We can also post you this information plus one of the forms (NCT003) which you will need to apply for the free bus pass to anywhere in Scotland.  Contact our helpline for more information on the bus pass.

Disabled Person’s Railcard

Anyone in the UK who has epilepsy and who still has regular seizures despite taking anti-epileptic drugs, will be entitled to a Disabled Person’s Railcard.  You have to buy this card for a yearly fee which then gives you one third off train fares for travel across the UK.  An adult travelling with you will also get one third off the fare.

Other transport

Taxi card scheme

Some local authorities in Scotland will provide a taxi card for those who have permanent and severe mobility issues.  If these stop you from using public transport and you have no other means of transport, you may get this card, allowing you to travel by taxi at a reduced fare.  You need to contact your own local authority to find out about potential taxi schemes in your area.

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