DRIVING .. UK based advice please

EML

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Hi all (again!)

Know this must come up time and time again , and sadly am no different. Last week on a first Neuro appointment (which am now calling a drive by) Neuro said I had focal epilepsy. This was almost a by the by situation and if I hadnt taken a line of questioning re constant claims of neuro symptoms always being put down to something else, EG , Migraine, we would have discussed this history I prob had first seizure 4 plus years ago, some since but in total probably around 6 -8 days in total in 4 years. I was told then in 2016 it wasn't seizures but atypical migraine so went merrily on my way.

Last week Consultant says on phone, ,after 30 min chat for first time. It's epilepsy. I accept this as it is my account of the funny turns that led to it. However, he advised me then to tell DVLA, noting in that in doing so he couldn't /wouldn't be able to change outcome. He also said he would send script to GP to start meds, if I WANT understanding why I might not re risks/benefits.

I have checked site and it outlines what constitutes a seizure, differences between day and night etc. It also notes that they should have been happening for more than 12 months for any review of license and also that you follow medical guidance(hah!). On reading this I realised I have had little guidance. Appt due in 8 weeks but its not a 'start some meds and we will review your epilepsy' appt but a follow up to initial one which is unrelated.

Anyhow, I called DVLA who said stop driving immediately and this would be for minimum 6 months though when I said it has been retrospectively likely 4 years she then said I need to stop for 12 months ! :cry:. They are sending out paperwork etc. I know they aren't medically trained so cant answer many of my questions about appeal of it if you don't lose consciousness which I can tell from online driving tools might be a possibility . However, of concern to me is that she says it will be up to consultant to tell them if I am safe. My concern is on many levels

- Wow can he possibly assess me given he doesn't know me/isn't necessarily 'my' neurologist (or is he..) and if so, will he just default and stick to the 6 months as he doesn't want to put his neck on the line. He's already as good as said 'DVLA is nothing to do with me'
-He is happy to diagnose epilepsy on basis of my personal account so will he be happy to take my account of max seizure numbers. no loss of consciousness etc
-Will I be seen as non compliant if not taking meds. He hasn't said I should and left it to me though I know doctors 'treat' so wont be against it. If so will this impact

He has so much power but for all that hasn't taken ownership of anything well enough. I have called his secretary asking him to call me re Driving and Medication but wondering re experiences of others, esp those with only SPS/Focal Onset. Am so upset and frustrated today.

I anticipated giving it up and know its the right thing to do pending assessment. Am just not sure now what 'assessment' now constitutes

Did others need to wait full 12 months post first seizure , how does it work if its retrospective assessment or different types of seizures

So sorry for the pity party if it appears this way. Just reflecting on the last few days now
 

EML

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thanks SBS.
The Govt website tells you that its possible to get it back earlier if no loss of consciousness, but was keen on experience of others to how this played out in practice as DVLA operative also just parroted website detail. I spoke to Neuro who states that the DVLA medical officer will make final decision and he has been challenged on saying someone with SPS was safe to drive before as there is no guarantee. He also concluded that with amount of days of seizures (albeit in clusters of the day) then he would prob not recommend need for meds
Am waiting for paperwork from DVLA to come in and will just need take it from there.. :(
 

Loopy Lou

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It's not really something that gives room for grey areas or negotiation. You need to be 12 months seizure free to reapply for your license. Even if you only have seizures pretty rarely and don't fully lose consciousness, it's still an impairment which could have a negative effect on your driving capabilities. If there is any chance that you could have any kind of seizure behind the wheel then you should swap in your driving license for a free bus pass instead.

Usually you can reapply for your license if you've been completely seizure free for 12 months, there are some situations where you have to go up to 3 years, but it looks like that one doesn't apply to you.

Another way that epilepsy sucks, i think i'm resigned to being a pedestrian now.
 

EML

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Thanks. I think guidance is 12 months from first seizure but of course my first seizure was 4 years ago and was mis/under diagnosed as atypical migraine.
So there are some grey areas as you say, and one of these is the consciousness argument and types of seizures that dont affect it. I havent surrendered it but asked for medical assessment They have written to Neuro... so watch this space :(
The SPS/Focal Onset has no bearing on my driving, because I have had one whilst driving and no impact in doing so other than the deja vu and nausea. Which is horrid dont get me wrong, but transient

If I am not safe there is no way I would go near a car as truly dont want to hurt myself or anyone else. Applied for Access to work but waiting to see. WFH has assisted a lot but now on a rota to be back in building and public transport during a pandemic does not appeal. HAve done it 1x already and such a pain, Factor in not being able to respond to elderly parents, go to shops easily etc then sucks is an understatement
 

Andrew

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Hi EML,

You may find the following URLs of interest:

 

stuartbungle

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Seriously I agree with Loopy Lou. I merrily learnt to drive in my early twenties, sounds crazy but I was unaware I was having SPS CPS and Peti mal, but a stranger pointed it out when out in pub - on his comments I did something and found help - turns out got diagnosed with focal seizures, told not to dwell on it but was asked how long been going on for, initially gave couple of years; but have sat n thought, had conversations with friends I've known an eon, and they confirmed I'd been having sps and cps for many years longer. I learnt to drive during this time, I was unaware, otherwise I wouldn't have. I want my driving license back, but unfortunately started collapsing in day time (lucky me turns out nocturnal seizures), but now resigned to screwing the local authority out of a free bus n train card (after 09.30). I just think of the news article saw number of years ago "White Van Crashed into Glasgow Town Center Killing a number of people" A guy diagnosed with T/C's didn't tell DVLA (financial reasons young family etc) carried on Driving and he caused that. Could you live with yourself if something like that happened?
 
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