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Seizures and Driving

How Long Before I Can Drive?

Many people who have had seizures are able to return to driving once their seizures are under control. But your return to safe driving after one or more seizures depends on the following key factors:
  • The cause of your seizure
  • The type of seizure you typically have
  • The laws of the state in which you are licensed
  • How long you have been free of seizures that affect your awareness.
A seizure may occur when someone has a severe head injury or a very high fever, or an infection of the brain, and it may happen only once. Other types of seizures are caused by a seizure disorder (also known as epilepsy), and can happen more than once unless treated with long-term medication. Your doctor can tell you about the type of seizure(s) you have had, and also can give you treatment options.
The amount of time before your license is returned varies from three months to a year, depending on the laws in your state. If your doctor has diagnosed you as having a seizure disorder, states will require that you are treated for that condition with medication designed to prevent seizures and that your seizures are under reliable control before the state will allow you to drive.
Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to find out about the law in your state.
Your doctor may have to write a letter to your DMV stating that you are under treatment and that the medicines are keeping you from having any seizures.

What If I Don't Pass Out?

Some states will license people with seizure disorders if they have seizures only during sleep (nocturnal epilepsy), or if they have simple partial seizures in which they remain aware and able to drive safely.
Some people have a long aura (or warning) before a seizure, allowing them to pull safely off the road. In some states, a doctor's statement to that effect will allow a person to get a restricted license.
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