Driving and Epilepsy

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation web site at www.dot.state.pa.us for on-line driver services, forms and detailed information.

The issue of driving as it relates to epilepsy or seizure disorder can be an emotionally charged issue. For teenagers and young adults, obtaining a driver’s license has become an important rite of passage into adulthood. An individual’s ability to obtain a driver’s license has a direct impact upon his/her level of independence. It can limit a person’s employment opportunities and affects our everyday lives in countless ways.

Today, many people who have epilepsy or a seizure disorder are able to drive. If your seizures are controlled and you meet all of the non-medical requirements for obtaining a driver’s license, you should have no difficulty in Pennsylvania obtaining a learner’s permit or driver’s license.

The first step in making a determination about your readiness to apply for a driver’s license or to resume driving is to discuss the matter with your physician. Protecting your personal safety and the safety of everyone traveling our roads and highways is a paramount concern for the EAWCP. If your seizures are not medically controlled, you should not drive.

Epilepsy and seizure disorders are only dangerous when they are not under medical control. In Pennsylvania, you must be seizure free for six months before you will be permitted to drive. Your physician will be required to complete a medical report stating that your seizures are controlled and send that report to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Pennsylvania rules on epilepsy/seizure disorders and driving do have a number of exemptions to the requirement that you be seizure free for six months. Those exemptions include a person who experiences only an aura. Your physician can also recommend a waiver from the 6 month seizure free requirement if:

  • You have a strictly nocturnal pattern of seizures or a pattern of seizures occurring immediately upon awakening has been established for at least 2 years immediately preceding your application.

  • You experience a specific prolonged aura accompanied by a sufficient warning and this pattern has been established over a period of at least 2 years immediately preceding your application or suspension.

  • Your seizures had previously been controlled and the subsequent seizure or seizures occurred as a result of a prescribed change or removal from medication while under the supervision of a licensed physician.

  • Your seizures had been previously controlled for 6 or more months and the subsequent seizure occurred during or concurrent with a nonrecurring transient illness, toxic ingestion, metabolic imbalance or nonrecurring trauma.