What does driving mean to you? To some, driving means freedom and independence – plus it’s what all your friends are doing.
Just because you have epilepsy does not necessarily mean you will never drive, however for some this can be true.
Wherever possible, driving should be encouraged and should always be a goal for anyone with good seizure control, after considering all aspects of their epilepsy.
Find out more:
Click on the play button to hear Samantha’s experience of not driving.
To hear Meg talk about medications and wanting to drive click on the video.
Driving and medications
Yes, in circumstances where you are:
When you have your licence, it is also important that you:
You need to make a real commitment to take your medication every day and on time so you don’t risk having a seizure on the road.
Note: If you are going to wean off a medication or change medications, there are restrictions on driving for a specified period as this is a high risk time for having a seizure.
This is a document about medical standards and driving in Australia. There is a section on epilepsy.
If you are diagnosed with epilepsy or have a seizure, it is your legal responsibility to notify the appropriate road transport authority in your state or territory.
The doctor may notify the authorities if he/she suspects you are driving against advice or not taking your medication as prescribed.
If you’ve had a seizure or two, you need to get your medication reviewed. If you don’t tell the doctor, this isn’t going to happen. So this can seriously affect your seizure management and control. The bigger risk is that you’ll have a seizure while driving. By telling the doctor, you will have your license temporarily suspended, but while it’s tough not being able to drive for a while, you don’t want to risk having a bad accident that hurts you or someone else. There could be possible legal repercussions in this instance.
Yes. Once you have been seizure free again for the regulated period, you can re-apply and get your licence back. Sometimes if a seizure happens in extenuating circumstances, then you may be able to get it back sooner than you think.
The rules about health and driving are developed by medical experts and are agreed by Driving Licence Authorities (DLA) nationally. Your doctor or specialist does not make the rules but provides advice, based on the standards, about how your epilepsy might affect your ability to drive safely and how it might be managed.
The DLA will consider the advice of your doctor, but always makes the final decision about your licence status.
Driving against medical advice is illegal and dangerous to your passengers and the community. There are many safety factors to think about because seizures usually happen without warning.
If you have a motor vehicle accident during the recommended non-driving period you will not be covered by insurance and may have difficulty getting insurance in the future. You could also be charged with driving offences such as dangerous driving or be sued under common law.
While seizure control is critical for anyone’s ability to drive, it is not the only factor in driving assessments. Things that you should take care about and the authorities (in Australia) will look at are:
It’s important to remember though that driving is a privilege not a right, and one which can be taken away if the road rules are broken.
As you are approaching the age where you want to get your licence, discuss it with your neurologist to give you the best opportunity to plan ahead. Any changes to medication or management should be done well before attempting to get a driver’s licence.
For more information, click on the link and access the Seizure Smart – Driving Factsheet.