Tell us about your symptoms and treatment experience. Take our survey here.

An angry car key and a medical alert bracelet in a dresser drawer

Not Being Able to Drive Is a Loss of Independence

Obtaining a driver's license is a significant milestone that brings a sense of freedom to teenagers. However, for those with epilepsy, the regulations and health considerations surrounding driving may be more complex.

Discussing these factors with the your state's department of motor vehicles (DMV) and providing updated medical documentation, particularly for those taking anti-seizure medications, may be required.

Can I get my driver's license if I have epilepsy?

Some may ask, "Will I ever get my driver's license even though I'm epileptic?" It depends. But driving laws are a factor that might place this experience on hold.

The decision to grant a driver's license for those with active seizures is typically made on a state by state basis, with each state having its own laws and regulations. Typically, the individual must be seizure-free for a certain period, whether it's 6 months or 5 years. It varies depending on where you live.

Once approved, the person must take exams, learn traffic rules and signs, and ensure their safety on the road. With proper care and attention to your health and the driving laws, it's possible to obtain a license despite the challenges presented by epilepsy.

Beyond what the law says...

Getting a driver's license is a big deal! But it's important to remember that safety and health come first – whether you're legally allowed to have a license or not. This is especially important if you're taking anti-seizure medication, which can sometimes cause memory loss, tiredness, and confusion.

So, take care of yourself and stay safe on the road! For me, my anxiety made me extremely cornered.

Seizure-free but still too anxious to drive

At this point, I don't think, I'll ever get my license. I must accept it.

There was a time when I could say I was seizure-free for perhaps a good 4 years. I was young, and it would have been the perfect year for getting my license. But life was a little more complicated.

As I thought about the possibly getting my license, I became filled with anxiety. Was this something I really wanted? I remember always hearing, "Wait until you get your license. You'll have more fun." But I wasn't so sure...

Confusion, memory loss, and tiredness

Often, our epilepsy medication can come with many side effects that can impact us in many ways that we may not even totally understand – including effects on cognition or attention. Which may bring on some fears about driving. And of course, having a seizure while driving could place you and others in beyond life-changing situations.

Every problem has consequences, yes. But in this case, it's all very unpredictable.

I want the independence of driving

The freedom of everyday adventures means the world to me, even with my self-doubt and fears. I'm getting older, and even yes, I'm somewhat crawling slowly into adulthood.

To hang out with some friends, I would have to rely on them for the ride. And I know, eventually, this will run its course, and the relationship will change. Needing this kind of help all the time brings on a mix of thankfulness and embarrassment. It's my reality.

But my epilepsy is too uncertain

This is the reality of personal limitations, of laws, and of independence. The feeling of losing this kind of independence – the simple act of driving yourself somewhere – can put you in a corner of uncertainty.

Yes, that's me. I don't know if I will ever drive. But let's see how the ride of life goes.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The EpilepsyDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our In America Survey yet?