Epilepsy Foundation

My 17 yo daughter got her license last August.  She didn't have a seizure for 6 years.  January 1, she had a bad seizure in her sleep complex partial - grand mal.  At least that's what her doctor thinks.  No one witnessed it.  She came into my room after feeling sick.  Her pants were wet, throw up and drool soaked pillow.  Chipped tooth, bitten tongue.  So I and her doctor are assuming seizure.  I only talked to him on the phone because I thought he might want to increase her medicine since we don't see him until April.  He didn't want to at this time.  He said I would have to follow the law and stop her driving which we did.  When she got her license we went thought the dmv doctor approval board - her doctor said she was safe to drive.  Now after a seizure, I thought he would report it to the DMV.  He didn't yet.  My husband called the DMV and they said we would have to send a letter stating the seizure - then they would send paper work.  They didn't have any knowledge of it.  In NJ it's a year without license.  What happens if I don't send the paper work?  What's the process - do they automatically suspend it after they get it?  Is it a pain to get it back?  I want to do the right thing but worry about all the hassel of stopping and getting it back.

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   I am sorry to hear of the set back I dont know of the laws in your state.but in California where I lived at that age it was 5 years E free before I was able to apply for the first but who knows now.in Nevada where I live now I recenly lost my licence again I was a bit slow for their taste in coming in and got a certified letter

that was kinda threating.When I went in they punched the licence and I got a I.D. I have the paperwork I will need for the doctor to fill out to get the licence back. 

I don't report any of my break throughs to the DMV, only to my neuro. You should look up the law on the DMV website to see if your neuro is required to report it. If not, then don't. If he hasn't, and isn't going to... I would call him and ask what to do. My neuro and I have an understanding, if I have a seizure, I call him immediately on his cell. I tell him what caused it. Depending on the cause depends on how long I go without driving.

1. Enter www.efa.org. 2. Find Resources Column. 3. Click on Driving Laws 4. Choose you state. 5.Click Enter.    Your information will be listed for your state with all requirements that you need to know!

hope that helps

My seizure was automatically reported to the DMV by the ER doc. In PA I think it's 6-months seizure-free to be able to drive again. But I haven't had any complex partials since like June of last year (2011), and I'm still not driving because of a simple partial back in like September (2011). I sooo miss driving!


If you are as irresponsible in your driving as you say you are, don't come on this site and brag about it. You're just showing everyone how far you are willing to go to make yourself happy, even if it puts thousands of other people's lives in danger. If you are willing to do this to be happy, I would hate to see what you would do if you were angry.

Another thing, does it make you feel important to copy other people's comments, put your name on them, and claim that they are yours?

The only thing I can say is that your neuro is as irresponsible as you if you have had multiple breakthroughs and he is listening to you telling him the cause of your seizures over the phone. This works great for you because you can say anything you need to so you can keep your license.


As a parent do you really want to be partially responsible? If your daughter happened to have a seizure while driving, a kid on bike came out in front of her, a mother with a van full of kids or side swiped a car or possibly she might be turning a corner of a cliff drive and she veers off of it. Could you live with that responsibility that someone could die are severely or permanently be injured for life? Or that she herself could die?

  I could not have that on my conscious as a mother. I would rather suffer through the hassle of paper work

and have her be mad at me for awhile, than having the alternative. You'll never be sorry, later! 

Am I missing something here? Bethany didn't say she defiantly drives in spite of her seizures. She said she has an understanding with her neurologist that if she does have a seizure, she calls him and he recommends what she should do and whether or not she should drive, and for how long. I wish it was like this in PA. If I remain seizure-free until April when I have my next appointment with my neuro, and she says I can drive again, I'm sure I won't get my license back that day - I'll have to go through probably weeks of paperwork (and hassle) with the DMV. It would be much easier if my doctor alone had that authority.

I'll admit I have driven, maybe twice around the block, once just to make sure I 'remembered' how to drive. And once because I bought a new car in the fall and had never even had the opportunity to 'test-drive' it. I'm not defiant - just human. And I can't help but think how many years I drove with an undiagnosed seizure disorder because haughty doctors weren't able to look past my OCD and seemed bent on diagnosing me with yet another mental illness. Why were they allowed to put me and others at risk? Shouldn't we be hard on them? I even told one doctor that I was 'almost crashing my car'. He did nothing. So I kept on driving.

I'll say this - I'm not confident that Lamictal has my seizures completely under control. I still (some days) clench my teeth just like I'd done right before a seizure, but my doctor remains unconcerned, even though this clenching is entirely unwillful. It feels like a rubberband or magnet is tugging my lower jaw and teeth upwards constantly - I do not feel this same sensation in my upper teeth. It's happening right now. And it's not stress.

So even if I do eventually get my driver's license back, I doubt I will drive on days I feel like this regardless of what my doctor recommends.




Hi 1212, Very tough position but I have been close to your daughters shoes. If you do not follow the DMV request things can go terribly wrong. Both of you need to realize the liability situation. Knowing she is capable of going into a breakthrough seizure the liability is on the parents shoulders. 1. If she does get into a car accident, the person hit can sue your pants off. Easily, $100,000.00 if not more. 2. She will have no way to prove she was innocent, even if she possibly was & did not cause the accident. 3. Should she drive away , in post ictal confusion, the DA will go for Hit & Run. He/She has no choice, when a vehicle leaves the scene of an accident it is "technically" Hit & Run. She will face an arrest and have this on her record for Life....Insurance will be almost impossible & was another person or family damaged?.....This is one of the toughest decisions a person & parent will go through. Giving up her license to protect others is a responsibility & freedom you and she just need to face and deal with. I just thank God I came to my senses and gave up my license realizing the damage that could be done.  


Did you read Bethany's statement about how she handles her breakthoughs? SHE makes the decision not to contact DMV. SHE tells her neuro what caused the breakthough. SHE made an agreement with her neuro.

Everything that is done in HER situation is controlled by HER. You say that SHE is not being defiant! SHE ignores other peoples safety and is proud of it! Since when does the patient tell the doctor what is happening to the patient? She wants to control the entire situation HER way and nobody had better get in HER way, because SHE is willing to put HERSELF and anyone else who goes near a road where SHE drives in danger of injury that SHE would then tell her neuro was no problem because SHE knows why it happened, and what had happened was in no way HER fault! SHE would then borrow another car and go back out on the road to prove that SHE was right. It's all HER, HER, HER!!!!!!

Bethany, You might feel that this is a reasonable plan. Is your Neurologist going to step forward and take away the responsibility you need to accept if you do have a breakthrough while driving. No Way! The responsibility will be on your shoulders 100%. This will include Legal, Financial, Physical and Emotional Responsibility. Some of us have had some very close calls but we are still living our lives without the responsibility of an accident on our shoulders. We did what was necessary and refused to drive because we saw through the self centered "lack of responsibility" taken by others.

Bethany said:

I don't report any of my break throughs to the DMV, only to my neuro. You should look up the law on the DMV website to see if your neuro is required to report it. If not, then don't. If he hasn't, and isn't going to... I would call him and ask what to do. My neuro and I have an understanding, if I have a seizure, I call him immediately on his cell. I tell him what caused it. Depending on the cause depends on how long I go without driving.

Thanks for all the comments.  I already requested the paper work to take to my daughters next office visit for her doctor to fill out.  The option wasn't of letting her drive, it was just the paper work end of it.  Believe me she will be waiting 1 year before driving unless more seizures.  I've seen how horrible seizures are - she has no memory of them.  I hated the idea of her getting a license but since she hadn't had a seizure for 6 years and the DMV and her doctor approved it - she got it.  I couldn't stop her from living her life over my fears.  Now that she's had another seizure it's a different ball game. Anyway I was reading where if you get your license revoked it can cost 100's of dollars trying to get it back.  She doesn't seem to care one way or another about driving.  She's very quiet and shy - doesn't have any friends - not sure if it's from past seizures or medicine.  We've always been more protective then needed - sometimes I think we screwed her up.  Again, not sure since she's been on different seizure meds for 16 years since she was 1.  I just wasn't sure what the process was.  I thought the doctor would turn it in but since we haven't seen him until April maybe he will then.  I didn't want the DMV to accuse us of hiding info and make it worse for her if she doesn't have a seizure again for a long time with the option to drive again.

AC'sHuman, yes, I read it. I read it again too to see if I missed anything. She said that if she has a seizure, she calls her neuro, tells him what happened, and then he decides if it's safe for her to drive (or not). Isn't this what happens anyway, whether the DMV is involved or not? You have a seizure, you call your neuro (or go see him/her), he notifies the DMV, and your neuro decides if and when it's safe to drive again. I know the DMV is going to require some sort of letter from my neuro when the time comes, so it's in the doctor's hands anyway.

I know some people can have seizures if they have a fever, for example - maybe that's what she means. I'm not one of them, but I think it would be unfair to suspend someone's driving privileges if they only have a seizure under certain circumstances (such as a fever).

And truthfully, I don't think any of us epi's, once our driving privileges are restored, is ever going to be guaranteed 'safe' on the road. Some people can go years without a seizure and then suddenly have one fire off behind the wheel.

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