Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I may have simple partial epilepsy. Has anyone who has this lost your driver's license?
The dr. suggested I have a VEEG test in the hospital. But if I get a dx, then what happens?
I already take Tegretol so it is pretty under control. I have never felt that my driving would be compromised even if I did have a short episode because I'm fully conscious. Feedback anyone?


Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

It varies from state to state.  in Montana (where I live) a person can't drive 3 months after a seizure.  there is a whole liability issue here.  If you have an accident and you should not be driving, there can be huge issues in lawsuits and insurance and all.  I didn't drive from May until October this year..


Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I was wondering the same thing. (Luckily) my seizures generally happen at night, so I would isolate my driving to the day time, but you never know exactly when the symptoms will occur.hmm...let me know what you find out

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

WOW I have a son that's going to be 20 and he had a sezuire almost 3 years ago. He had just gotten his license and a car and NOT for 1 moment did I even think it was fair to make him pay insurance being he couldn't drive. His license wasn't taken away he had to go 6 months without another sezuire and I thank God he never has had one again.  It was terrible to find him out cold on the floor and I do mean cold.  The Paramedics got there but in the mean time I was lucky that my younger brother knew CPR because his breathing was really shallow.


If you can't drive WHY does she keep you on the insurance? I know that if you're not on it you do have to surrender your license.  My son was lucky, but having a car sitting out in front and all you can do is look at it or sit in it to listen to the radio doesn't cut it.....GOOD LUCK perhaps your mother might have a change of heart soon, or you need to discuss it with her.


Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

It depends on what state you live in. I have Partial Onset TLE and have had numerous seizures in the past 2 months. I live in Arizona and there are no reporting requirements to DMV. In some states there are and you have to be seizure free for a certain period of time before you can drive again. Out here it is 3 months but it is on the honesty system.





Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

If you lose your license due to your epilepsy and you have a car, maybe you can work out arrangements for a person to drive you where you need to go in exchange for the usage of your car.  This could look really good to a person who needs a car, can't afford one, and if public transportation is stinky like it is in my town.  Of course, you would have to select a trustworthy person.  It might help to put expectations in writing.  Only a couple of months ago I had to walk around central Mississippi in the heat with kids and pregnant because I had no vehicle.  This arrangement would have looked SUPER to me.  I would have driven you to the moon if asked.

Considering how bad the economy is you should be able to find people to carpool/give gas money to.  You probably just have to keep looking.  Not having your license isn't great, but it can probably be less of a pain if you keep being creative.

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

If I understand my neuro correctly, you only lose your license in Illinois if you have seizures where you lose consciousness, so it wouldn't apply to simple partial seizures.

Re: Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I lost my license when I hit a tree w/my car & my kids were in the back seat. I did not drive for 4 years. My docotor said I had to go 6 months w/out a seizure. That was totaly impossible & I just have partial complex seizures. I changed doctors & go to a female who is more understanding of my problem being a mom and being tired of waiting on my husband to take me everywhere. We changed my medicine and I take Kepra and Carbortol - still have a seizure every now and then and I always fear I will have my licenses taken away again or wreck again w/my kids in the car. IT SUCKS WHEN YOU CAN'T DRIVE!!!

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My license was supended 2 days ago due to loss of conscious first time in over 20 years, I have a hearing date of 10/15 and am looking for advice. I live in CA and feel like I'm in a bad dream praying I'll wake up. Your right it sucks when you can't drive

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I also live in CA and finally gave up my license after having a seizure while driving and causing an multi-car accident.

I may be trying for my license in about one year because the seizures seem to coming under control.

Good luck with the hearing.


Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

Do you have TLE with simple partial seizures? I have TLE and my driving restriction (Michigan) is 6 months from each seizure with the option of less at the discretion of the state board. Illinois has 'no set seizure-free period' which means they ask you a series of questions when you renew your license and it will be up to the board to allow a license. Usually this means that they may be harder on you if you've had tonic-clonic or absence seizure activity. If you've only had simple partials then you may be okay. That is the only kind I've had. I can't drive until around March. That's the month I renew it too or beginning of April. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay. Ive been seizure free since November. I'm used to having them every 6-8 weeks. I hope this website helps....


This will give you the driving laws for epilepsy in Ill.

Good Luck!!! Michelle

Hi Elsea, Here is some US

Hi Elsea,

Here is some US info:

It makes NO SENSE to automatically think that those (who don't lose consciousness) with simple partials are 'with it' to the degree one should be if behind a wheel.

Gads..I remember not knowing my name during some simple partial seizures. The ONLY beauty about simple partials is that I always knew when they occurred, but during the SP seizures I always lost my ability to speak and hear (NOT reliable while driving).
I'd generally also be distracted (and freaking out) because I knew I was having a seizure = another reason simple partials should not be seen differently re: driving.

I'm betting your Dr suggested the VEEG test for a reason.
Btw, I'm one who has taken Tegretol for decades.
It is an old seizure drug 'known' to cause osteoporosis in some people, so take daily calcium & vitamin D suppliments while on that med.
(And it doesn't control everyone either.)

best wishes

Re: Hi Elsea, Here is some US

Hi! Thanks for your frank answer. I copied down the information for future reference. I appreciate everyone's input as I think about how I want to proceed with things, and your ideas have been helpful. Thanks everyone.

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I also have simple partial seizures. My seizures mimic stroke symptoms, where I lose movement on my right side and lose my speech. But I have never lost consciousnes, I am totally aware of what is happening during my seizures and I have plenty of warning when they are going to occur. In my state,Missouri,the way the law reads, as long as you have never lost consciousness, you can still keep your drivers license. The first neuro I saw wanted to take my drivers license. I got a second opinion. The second neuro I saw was an idiot, I knew more than he did. Finally found a third neuro that I could work well with and kept my drivers license. He keeps close tabs on me and my seizures, and is quick to warn me that if they change my driving privledges could change. I can live with that. My point is, if you have to, get another opinion, a second or even a third if you have to. Some neurologists don't know everything. Best of luck to you!

Hello Kelly I see that you

Hello Kelly
I see that you saw more than 1 neurologist. I am in a dilemma.
State of NJ is 1 year.
I have been seizure free after brain surgery for 10 years. was placed on depakote for depression, took myself off to quickly and had a seizure.
I'm seeing what I can do to not have to go seizure free for a year and lose my license.
I do believe my case is different.
Do I keep trying or just stick to my neurologist?
Hope to hear from you.

Re: Hello Kelly I see that you

Hi Krissy,
I also live in NJ, and know how difficult it is with the NJ DMV.

The NJ DMV is strict, and requires a letter from a doctor saying that you have been seizure free for one year. I know, I went through it.

Double check it with your neurologist, just to be on the safe side. Mine happened back in 1996, and the laws may be a little different now.

Good luck with it. :)

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I have complex partial seizures. The way i understand it is it depends on the state you live in. some states require that your doctor report epilepcy and some do not. I have a friend in Michigan where I am from that is epileptic and they require the doctor reports it so she lost her license.
I live in Tennessee and they do not require the doctor reports it, however they restrict you from not driving for 6 month periods. i take tegretol and mine are pretty well controlled. however if i have a breakthrough seizure and my medication or dosage has to be changed then my doctor restricts driving privileges for 6 months. once you are seizure free for 6 months you can drive again.
so, i would find out if you can from your doctor what the state you live in requires.

The state you live in will

The state you live in will depend on what the outcome will be when you apply for a license. Michigan does not require the doctor to report. The docs here are not required to report anyone. Please visit this website


I sent this to you in a previous post. You'll read the laws for yourself and for your own state. Good luck!!!

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I live in PA and you automatically lose your license for 6 months no matter what kind of seizure you had, if you are seizure free for those 6 months you get you license back. If you have another one you lose your license for another 6 months and so on. I know it differs in every state though.

Re: Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

From what the doctors are saying that I could have simple partial seizures or silent migraines (similar symptoms) After a MRI,MRA and CAT scan they put me on Topamax which is working well for me. They now want me to get an EEG done. I don't want to get it done since I don't want to get my LICENSE taken away. I live in a small town and will never be able to go anywhere. The bus doesn't even go through our area. I am completly consciouse during my episodes. I can see fine and I am completly alert. After everything is over I feel a little confused but I do know where I am. I also have a hard time putting my words together. Would you get the EEG done if you lived in PA? I appreciate all the advice you could give me. Thank you.

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

Hi - I also have simple partial seizures and yes, I have not been able to drive for over a year now. I'm in Illinois and my doctor told me that they want you to go 6 months without a seizure BUT he can override that if he wants to and he will generally say ok after 3 months. And finally, I'm about 3 days away now from getting my lisence back if everything goes well! I questioned for a while also why I couldn't drive if I was conscious and couldn't understand but looking back, I think I was just being very resistant and did not want to loose my lisence. There have been times when I have hallucinated, didn't recognize my surroundings, etc. so it's probably best that I haven't been behind the wheel..... :-) It seems like I may be on the right medication now though and things are going well and I'm very excited to get a piece a freedom back next week! I hope that you do soon also. Good luck!

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

Massachusetts law to me, makes total sense, even though it will severely stink to have to give mine up... it says, "any operator who experiences a seizure, syncope, or any other episode of altered consciousness which will or may affect the safe operation of a motor vehicle must surrender...their drivers license."

and that's just it, altered consciousness isn't unconscious per se, but it could lead to disorientation, moments or lapse of consciousness. There are a few police officers on this forum that can tell you from seeing it firsthand, even people without any medical problems who look away from the wheel even for a second, can cause irrevocable accidents.

So I hear you, my drivers license will be taken for 6 months says my neurologist, if the EEG says that I have simple partials too. And the loss of freedom it will cause will STINK!! but, it's better than risking the possibility of hurting someone else or myself on the road.
I'm sure you realize this by now too, but your right, it will STINK for a bit!!


Re: Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

my e was under for 18yrs when almost 5yrs ago I had a sez while driving and crashed my van.I broke my back in two places and it's held together with steel hardware.If I wasn't wearing my seat belt I'd be dead.I was told I'd never walk again but they were wrong.I have'nt had drivers licence from that day what a pain.I might have killed someone.

Re: Losing a driver's license w/ simple partial epilepsy?

I would check with the Secretary of State. There should be a link on your state's website. I have simple partials as well but I can't drive even though I am "all there". The law in Michigan says if you have had a seizure, fainted, or blacked out you may not drive for six months. The Secretary of State doesn't officially suspend your license but if you get into an accident during the six month period your insurance can deny any claims and you can face criminal charges. Sometimes I want to just say the heck with it and drive because my seizures are simple partials and happen at night anyway but its not worth it. Be carefull!

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I have not lost consciousness from seizures for years but there's always the POTENTIAL for a seizure to result in loss of consciousness.
If my safety was the only concern when driving I would definitely take the risk. When other people's safety and lives are at stake that should always take precedence.
It's better to take a bus than someone's life.

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Just last week, I had to hand in my license, I was told, I had until the year 2011 to "get better"....lol how's that one...lolol
my doctor must send in a letter to operator control.
Get better, that's a new one.

I'll agree.... better to take a bus than a life.


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I think you and your neurologist are best qualifed to make a judgement as to whether it is safe to drive. Of course state lawmakers may not agree.

I believe that simple partial seizure disorder is frequently undiagnosed and many people are driving and have no idea that a feeling of deja vu or smelling an odor that isn't there is a seizure.

If legislators were smart they wouldn't pass laws that may discourage people from seeking medical help for seizures. If they have rigid laws about people with mild seizure disorders driving someone may not tell their family doctor about symptoms that could lead to a referral to a neurologist for fear of being diagnosed with epilepsy and having their license suspended.

In a worse case scenario, someone might actually have a brain tumor and not epilepsy at all.

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I know close only counts in horse shoes, but I did ALMOST lose mine, and I have complex partials. Back in I think it was either 1990 or 1991. This, after a car accident that WAS NOT caused by a seizure. My case was continued time, after time, after time. In the process, with the stress getting to me, I had a seizure at school in the cafeteria. After the case was over, I got my medical report from NC DMV to be filled out by my doctor. NC law says that I have to maintain being seizure-free for 1 year in order get / keep a driver's license. Because of that seizure being so close to the date of that report, the DMV ruled that I should turn in my license. My attorney and I filed an appeal with the Medical Review Board, and presented our case. Based on my doctor's notes, the last seizure prior to my latest one occurred 3 years prior to my last seizure. Which prompted the board to over-turn their original ruling, and reinstate my license. I recently found out that there's a loop hole to NC DMV's 1 year seizure free policy. They give exception if the driver is STARTING a new medicine. If they're in an accident caused by a seizure while just starting a new medicine, they're responsible for the accident, but won't lose their license because of it.
John C. Tillotson

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elsea, how are you ? You are not alone. I have partial seizures. I was driving because i wanted to. What a mistake. My neurogist found out that i drove without her knowing it and told the state NO i cannot drive even thou i have partial seizures. At least for about a year after being seizure free. Have not got there yet. Still having seizures 5 times a month if not more. One is one too many. Anyways, yes i was a tegretol, as a matter of fact i still am, and also on lamital, they work ok, but i still have seizures and still cannot drive because my neurogist does not want me to hurt or kill anyone else as well as perhaps myself. Even thou they do not accure a lot, they do accure. And you could seriously hurt yourself if not others also. Not trying to down you elsea, but i am going threw the same thing. My seizures are under control not totally but under control better than they use to be, so why cant i drive ? Thats what i said to my neruogist, parents also. They told me, even if you feel better and your seizures have stoped happening for a long period of time the reason is because we are taking the medicine like we are soppose to. If you were to stop taking that med, you would probably start having seizures again. Please do not stop taking it. The matter of the fact is that we will have to take meds for the rest of our lives to live. So elsea, believe me you are not by yourself. Hope i have helped you out a little. god bless

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Thanks to everyone who responded. Everyone's comments have been much appreciated. I'm doing pretty well. I did not get the VEEG but will be seeing my neurologist in the next month or so. If I feel tired or if I'm symptomatic with the paroxysmal dystonia that I also have, then I get someone else to drive. I am still on Tegretol and plan to keep taking it as long as the doctor allows. He may have another plan next time I see him.
I hope the doctor will be able to help you be seizure free. Take care!

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Yes i have partial seizures and i know what you are going threw. I once drove while having partial seizures i was hard headed at the time. I had an accident while driving, almost killed myself, got suied for hitting a business sign and my doctor realize that i could not drive until she felt i was able which would have to be a year clean of not having seizures. I take tegretol and lamictal, it controls the seizures to a certain point but the seizures still occure a few a month therefore, i will not even think about driving until they are under better control. Sorry my friend, wish i could be of more help to you but just keep on taking your meds, and who knows, you may be seizure free for a year and you may drive again. Just live the best you know how, and hang in their like the rest of us are. god bless.

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Hi Elsea,

I have partial-complex seizures. As I was growing up, I had EEGs, MRIs, catscans, etc. Nothing indicated any signs of epilepsy. The only way indication there ever was a seizure were through blood levels (taken at the doctor's office). I'm on Tegretol XR.

In 1996, I was still living with my folks and had a seizure at the dinner table one night which lasted about 15-20 seconds. I remember eating dinner, and the next thing I knew my brother was on the phone and I heard him say, "It's ok, he just came out of it". Next, an EMT team arrived along with a police officer.

I learned from my parents, that in the seizure:
I dropped my hands to my sides, and shook for a few seconds, then came out of it.

I felt comforted since the EmT team had arrived, but was wondering why a police officer was there. The police officer documented the incident. The DMV was contacted and within 48 hours, I had to go to the DMV and surrender my license for a year. After the year ended, I had to get a written letter signed by my doctor saying that I have been seizure free for one year. Afterwards, the DMV would give me back my license.

During that year, my parents and brother drove me everywhere. To/from work, etc. Essentially, I put my life on hold during that year. Yes, I did continue living life, but I didn't go too far from home.

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Thank you James for telling me your story. That's so interesting how the cop came with the EMT's. What a huge shock to within 48 hours lose your privilege to drive.
Thanks to all who have responded to my posting. Really appreciate your advice and sharing of experiences.

Re: Losing a driver's li

i was just browsing on here and came across this so thought i'd remark. it's from 2007 so don't even know if you're on here anymore, but nonetheless. i myself find it surprising that you're so surprised about the license and the cops. mind saying where you live (even just the state or country? - i'm from canada). i just thought this was protocol. the first time (and every time thereafter) i had a grand mal i came to and was surrounded by cops, let alone just one. and every time i lost my license immediately, it's law the minute it happens. of course your neuro or md will tell you 'no more driving for 6 months, a year...' whatever the case may be later in your appt., but legally you can't as soon as you have one as you have to be assessed by your doctor first and then they make the decision based on your e history if they will let you drive or not. simple as that. basically the minute you come to and realize what just happened you know it's over.

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You're welcome, Elsea. Anytime. :) You know how the phrase goes - we live, we learn. I now remember the 96 incident as another life lesson, and something to remember.

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Think of it this way. It's your life. If you want something to happen, you have to be the one for it to happen the way you want.

If you want to have a seizure-free life, then you have do to what you need to do in order for the seizures to be controlled and maintained so that you can have that life.

A pneurologist once told me, "If you take your medication daily, get your blood levels, and everything is under control, then you can lead a NORMAL LIFE".

That was gold at the end of the rainbow for me.

If you want to drive, travel, dance, or whatever activity it is that you want to do, then you have to take whatever daily epilepsy medication you need to (at whatever time).

Manage it.
Turn it into a daily routine, so it's like brushing your teeth in the morning.
It becomes instinctual.
So you don't even have to think "did I...".
You'll know it was done because it becomes an instinctual habit.

I've been through it. I know that everyone can do it. Believe in yourself. :)

Good luck.

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I;m from Michigan and I tell you what I know. Never once has a doctor called the DMV when I had a sezuire and ended up in the hospital even after a MVA where I completly smashed a full size 4x4 truck. Nobody hurt but me Thank God. I turned in my license on my own will cause I didn't feel safe driving. As others have said Not driving sucks but knowing that you hurt or even killed another cause you knew you weren't suppose to be behind the wheel is enough for me. I have a license now and have had no blackouts or bad sezuires in over a year. However when I get tired I still get small staring spells or "goofy attacks so I know when and when not to drive.


you mentioned you still get "small staring spells" would you PLEASE write to me, b/c i am thinking my small  staring spells might be seizures too but still not sure. i'd like to compare notes!!

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Living with E for 50 years and never able to drive cuz PS almost always lose consciosness so I obviously was not going to drive....S not very mild but had no clue when. Now looking into surgery will se what that brings, try living 50 years depending on someone everyday. Agh.....always thought I'd grow out of E at least half my life I wouldn't have to depend on people. Taking your license away is a good thing though look at the outcome if they didn't even though you might know when you're going to have one ya never know if things change and ya didn't know.

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If I'm not mistaken, in Illinois it is three months. After that, there is a down-loadable form on the Sec of State's site that your Neuro can sign/fill out and send in that says you are okay to drive.(if you are) He has to do that each time your license is up for renewal.
medical form

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Due to the medication I am on, I can not remember, but it might be 16 months but do not quote me...here in RI. I will never meet that.
I should of never, ever, been driving and I KNEW it.
Lately I hadnt, but it was just the fact that I had that license in my handbag.
My next visit to my Neuro is in Oct. so see what he says about the state taking my license.
I have been a patient of his for about 13 years.


I am 19, and I have TLE. I

I am 19, and I have TLE. I live in AL. You have to be seizure free for six months. My neurologist did not report me. I do for say "lose conciousness" during my seizure. I do not know what I do, but I still speak and move. Grant it my speech makes no sense. I do hate the fact they take liscense away (even though it is for the good b/c it is safe for us). It is rediculous having to find a ride to work(i am fortunate to work with my mother). I hate the fact that I have a different lunch time and I am unable to go get anything. The main thing I hate is the fact I cannot start school b/c I cannot drive. I have lost a couple of scholarships due to this. I also hate the fact my mother will not give me a regular life style. I still live at home, and I will be in the shower 5 minutes, and she comes and says "Are you okay?". That is what really drives me insane. I DO NOT get to live a regular life and that really STINKS!!!!!!!
Hope your epilepsy gets better. Mine has not. I had seizures at the age of 10 months, then started having them again at 5 yrs old, and they came back my junior and senior years of high school. I did get to graduate, but I hated the fact of my dad taking me to school everyday.
I am in the middle of testing to see if I am a candidate for temporal lobe resection. I really hope I am, b/c I have heard good results from it. The only problem is my VEEG showed bilateral TLE. But my neuorologist still this it is coming from my right side only. I have a WADA coming up next month and depth electrodes sometime after that(depending on what my WADA shows).
I hope you and I can drive again soon!!!!
PS My mother also makes me pay car insurance even when I can't drive. Now that is what stinks!


Re: I am 19, and I have TLE. I

If you can't drive why does your mom make you pay for car insurance. I can see gas money.
You can take classes on line to get some college credits and even a degree.
Good Luck

Re: Re: I am 19, and I have TLE. I

my nero hasnt taken my license ... he has told me not to drive until he says i can.. its been 9 months with no driving... we live on a dirt road i do drive the kids to the school buss its just a little ways down our road and is more like blm land road .. so im driving like 10 to 5 miles an hour... thats it for me right at this time.. "its depressing"

Re: I am 19, and I have TLE. I

WOW it's amazing that you would take such a BIG chance with your childrens lives like that.  I know you're going slow but God forbid if you had a sezuire in front of them let alone while you're taking them to the bus stop that's something that will be in their minds forever.  Why would you want to subject them to that, espically since you were told NOT to drive until the Nero told you, that you could????