Diseases & Conditions

Epilepsy Seizures and Driving

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

In the United States, each state has its own driving rules. People with epilepsy are required to report their condition to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, states differ about the identity of the person who has to report. Some states require the doctor to report the patient. Other states ask patients to sign a simple form at the time of application for a license or license renewal. On the form, the patients state that they will notify the DMV of changes in their health status or driving ability.

When a person with epilepsy wishes to drive for the first time, an application will need to be filled out. When someone who already holds a driver's license is newly diagnosed with epilepsy, that person is responsible to notify the DMV.

Individuals with uncontrolled seizures have a higher risk of an accident 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 changes the medication, 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 him or her.

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


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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: 10/29/2014...#6999