Driving and Epilepsy in the Sunshine State
Your Options in Florida
Can a person with epilepsy obtain a driver's license in Florida?
Yes. However, Florida, like every other state, has specific guidelines concerning driver's licensure for medically impaired individuals including those with epilepsy. Considerable differences exist among the states in length of time a patient must be seizure free in order to drive. In some states, the person must wait two years; in others, only six months.
What are the guidelines in Florida?
The guidelines state that, applicants and licensed drivers should be seizure free for a period of two years before being approved for licensing. If a person is under regular medical supervision, it is possible to apply for a review by the Medical Review Board after being seizure-free for six months. These guidelines apply for all types of seizures. The isolated seizure with a normal encephalogram may be reviewed at the end of three months. The Division of Driver Licenses can answer questions about specific situations and how they relate to obtaining a driver's license.
What is the procedure?
The procedure is the same for all residents of Florida. Application is made at the local driver license office. A road signs and road rules examination will be given. If a person indicates on the application that he has epilepsy, or has had a seizure in the past two years, a medical form is mailed to the applicant from Tallahassee. The applicant is responsible for getting this form to his physician. The physician should complete this form and return it to the Medical Review Section of the Division of Driver Licenses in Tallahassee. If the applicant passes both the written and driving portion of the exam and approval is received from the Division of Driver Licenses, a drivers license will be issued.
Who decides whether or not a person with epilepsy can drive?
The final decision about a person's medical ability to drive is made by the Division of Motor Vehicles. The decision, based upon recommendation of the Department's Medical Advisory Board, is made after the review of information provided by the physician treating the person with epilepsy.
Is my physician required to report that I have epilepsy to the Division of Driver Licenses?
In Florida, physicians are not required to report a patient with epilepsy to the Division of Driver Licenses.
What happens if a person with epilepsy denies he has epilepsy on the application for a driver's license?
Falsification of the driver's license application, when discovered, may result in automatic revocation of the drivers license.
If I am denied a license, what are my legal rights?
If driving privileges are denied, the applicant has a right to appeal. This process consists of a hearing, during which the applicant may present evidence that he is capable of driving and may bring witnesses to testify on his behalf.
Does the Division of Driver Licenses require updates on the medical condition of people with epilepsy who have a driver's license?
Yes, the Division reviews cases of drivers with seizure disorders at varying periods of time.
Should a high school student whose seizures are not controlled, take the classroom education course?
Students with epilepsy interested in taking drivers education should contact the local school board office and obtain class requirements before enrolling in the class. In some areas, a restricted license may be required to obtain full credit for the class.
Suggestions to those with epilepsy about driving:
Developed by: University of Florida, Epilepsy Services of North Central Florida, and the Florida Department of Health in cooperation with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Driver Licenses.
Florida Department of
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles