If I Have Epilepsy, Can I Drive?

In the U.S., 700,000 licensed drivers have epilepsy. If you have it, taking the wheel means balancing the need for independence against the need for safety.

All states allow people with epilepsy to drive. Each state has its own regulations, and they can vary greatly. You can visit the website of your state's department of motor vehicles (DMV) to find out the requirements where you live. The Epilepsy Foundation also has a searchable database of state regulations on its website.

In all cases, people with epilepsy must report their condition to their state's DMV. However, states require different people to do the reporting. Some want the doctor to contact the DMV. Others need the person with epilepsy to sign a simple form at the time of application for a license or renewal that says they'll notify the DMV of changes in their health status or driving ability.

When a person with epilepsy wishes to drive for the first time, he must fill out an application for a license, potentially with that special form. When someone who already holds a driver's license is diagnosed with epilepsy, that person must notify the DMV.

Seizures are unpredictable, and even a small one at the wrong time can lead to an injury or death. The best solution, if possible, is to get them under control. In most states, you must be seizure-free for anywhere from 6 months to a year before you'll be allowed to drive.

To reach that milestone, honestly discuss your seizures with your doctor and work with him to find the right treatment.

NOTE: Information is subject to change. Please contact your state's DMV office for the most current information.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on July 07, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Epilepsy Foundation: "Driving and Travel," "Driving and Epilepsy."

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