Driving & Transportation
A driver's license is a passport to adulthood in the United States and many other countries. In both rural and suburban areas, driving a motor vehicle is often essential for independence and employment. Even in many urban areas, driving is needed for some jobs or to get to certain places for work or pleasure.
- Driving is a privilege, and applicants must meet the criteria in their state to qualify for a driver's license.
- Applicants in all states must be older than a minimum age (usually 16 or 17 years), must not have a medical disorder that would make driving dangerous, and must pass a written test, a vision test, and a driving test.
Licensing of People with Epilepsy
The laws determining which medical conditions may prevent someone from driving varies from state to state. Some states have become more liberal in recent years, basing laws on actual data about risks. This has resulted in fewer restrictions for people with epilepsy.
Review And Decision Process
In most states, the medical information and license application is reviewed by the state's department of motor vehicles (DMV). In complex cases or when the decision is not clear, the information is usually forwarded to a consulting doctor or the state's medical advisory board. A medical advisory board may also hear appeals about denying or revoking drivers' licenses.
Commercial Driver's Licenses
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) allows people with a history of epilepsy who have been seizure free off medication for 10 years to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). People with epilepsy can not get a CDL if they have…
- Ongoing seizures
- Seizure free but taking seizure medication
There may be other restrictions, depending on a person’s risk and laws may vary state to state. Check your state DMV for up-to-date laws and how to apply for a CDL.
Potential Liability and Physician Reporting
A person with epilepsy may be civilly or criminally liable for a motor vehicle accident caused by seizures. Liability may occur when a person drives…
- Against medical advice,
- Without a valid license,
- Without notifying the state department of motor vehicles of the medical condition, or with the knowledge that he or she is prohibited from driving.
Mandatory Physician Reporting
Some states (California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Pennsylvania) have "mandatory reporting laws".
Epilepsy centers provide you with a team of specialists to help you diagnose your epilepsy and explore treatment options.
Find in-depth information on anti-seizure medications so you know what to ask your doctor.
Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline
Call our Epilepsy and Seizures 24/7 Helpline and talk with an epilepsy information specialist or submit a question online.
Tools & Forms
Download our seizure tracking app, print out seizure action plans, or explore other educational materials.