Applying for a licence
Safe driving
Motor insurance

Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations
The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1999 set out the revised conditions under which a person with epilepsy can obtain a driving licence. In addition, there were amendments to these regulations in November 2004.

In the case of an applicant for a licence to drive a vehicle of any category, who suffers or has suffered in the past from epilepsy:

(a) Fitness to drive may be certified for a limited period in relation to vehicles of category A1, A, B, EB, M or where the applicant has not suffered any epileptic attack during the twelve month period preceding the date of medical examination.

(b) An applicant who suffers or has suffered in the past from epilepsy will not be certified in relation to vehicles of category C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1, or ED (lorries, buses and heavy goods vehicles).

The amendments to the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2004 became effective in November, 2004. These amendments are in relation to fitness to drive cars, light vans and motorcycles for people with certain specific seizure types set out below.

Nocturnal/sleep seizures:
From now it will be possible for a person who has had sleep seizures only for two years to drive with a consultant neurologist's Certification.

Provoked seizures:
Under the certification of a consultant neurologist in certain circumstances where there has been a provoked seizure, the one-year rule can now be reduced to six months.

Simple partial seizures:
People who only have seizures which are simple partial and where consciousness is fully maintained throughout all their seizures (e.g. auras alone) may now be allowed to drive provided this can be certified by a consultant neurologist.

Please note there are no changes to the section (b) above where licences for lorries, buses and heavy goods vehicles, will still not be granted.

Applying for a licence
Every person applying for a full driving licence, or a provisional licence is asked on the application form if they have epilepsy, or if they had epilepsy in the past. If you have been seizure free, night and day, for at least one year (preceding the date of the medical examination) or if you meet the new criteria for sleep seizures, provoked or simple partial seizures (even if you are still on medication) you can be granted a licence to drive vehicles in categories A, A1, B, EB, M and W - not above motorcycles, cars, light vans and tractors.

Do I need to obtain a medical report?
If you have epilepsy or have had any history of epilepsy and are one year seizure free, your application for a new licence will have to be accompanied by a Medical Report Form D501 completed by your doctor. If your doctor is in doubt as to your fitness to drive, you may be referred to a specialist for another opinion. You must apply within ONE MONTH of having the medical report filled in by your doctor.

Note: For those who may now be eligible to drive under the new amendments regarding sleep seizures, provoked seizures and simple partial seizures, Medical Certification may only be supplied by a consultant neurologist.

Existing licence holders
If you already hold a driving licence and are diagnosed with epilepsy, you should stop driving immediately.

Following a diagnosis of epilepsy it would be irresponsible, illegal and potentially dangerous for yourself and others to continue driving. You should be able to resume driving after one year if you remain free of seizures during that period. Your doctor should be in a position to advise you in accordance with the new regulations.

Safe driving
- Avoid driving for many hours or if you feel fatigued. If you have to drive a long distance, take breaks every couple of hours or, better still, share the driving with someone else.
- Ensure you always take your medication as prescribed and follow your doctor's advice.
- Do not drive while your medication is being changed or discontinued, until such time as your doctor advises you that it is safe to do so.
- Avoid driving if you are suffering side-effects from your medication that are likely to affect your performance while driving.
- Do not drink alcohol if you are driving. Even small amounts can interfere with medication and affect your driving ability.

Motor insurance
It is advisable to firstly shop around for the most competitive quote you can get and then declare that you have epilepsy. It is essential that you do declare that you have epilepsy when seeking motor insurance. Whether or not you have to pay an extra loading to your premium will depend on the policy of the insurance company and the details of your particular case.

By seeking the quote before declaring epilepsy you will at least know by how much you are being loaded.

There is a considerable risk to not revealing your condition. Failure to disclose epilepsy could mean that in the event of an accident, your policy could be null and void. Extra loading may be a small price to pay in the long run.

If you have difficulty obtaining a quotation, the Insurance Information Service of the Insurance Federation can help to arrange cover for you under the Declined Cases Agreement. You must be refused by three different companies before the Insurance Federation will take up your case. The Insurance Federation will need to know the exact order in which you approached the companies and details of any insurance cover you may have had. Also the Irish Insurance Federation of Ireland, 39 Molesworth St, Dublin provide an information service for the public on all insurance matters.

Tel: 01-6761820
Fax: 01-6761943

ERM Financial Services, 7 St. James Terrace, Malahide, Co Dublin, 01-8454361. provide a range of insurance products for Epilepsy Ireland members including life, personal accident and travel cover. If you have difficulties obtaining any insurance product on account of your epilepsy then it is advisable to contact them for assistance.

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