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Diseases & Conditions

Epilepsy Seizures and Driving

We would all enjoy the freedom of being able to travel independently whenever we want. For this reason, many of us rely mainly on cars to get to work, school, shopping, and social events. Therefore, for many young adults, obtaining a driver's license is very important.

Each state has individual driving regulations. People with epilepsy are required to report their condition to their state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). However, states differ regarding the identity of the person required to report. Some states require doctors to report patients with epilepsy. Other states require patients to sign a simple form at the time of license application or renewal, declaring they will notify the BMV of changes in their health status or driving ability.

When a person with epilepsy wishes to drive for the first time, he or she will need to fill out an application. When someone who already holds a driver's license is newly diagnosed with epilepsy, that person is responsible for notifying the BMV.

Individuals with uncontrolled seizures have a higher risk of accidents if they drive. That is why doctors advise patients with seizures that they should not drive until their seizures are under control. If a well-controlled patient has a seizure after the doctor makes a medicine change, the patient may or may not be able to continue driving.

Seizures are unpredictable, and even a small seizure at the wrong time can lead to an injury or death. The best solution, if possible, is to get the seizures under control. The best way to do this is to work together with your doctor to get on the right treatment and to honestly discuss your seizures with your health care provider.

This information is subject to change. Please contact your state's BMV office and your local doctor for the most current information.

Information is also available at www.epilepsyfoundation.org. Click on the "advocacy" heading to locate information regarding state driving regulations.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/10/2007...#6999