DVLA driving regulations: primary brain and spinal cord tumours

If you have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour, this may affect your ability to retain your driving licence. The driving regulations are issued by the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea and are not at the discretion of your doctor.

If you are not fit to drive for medical reasons, the DVLA will take your licence from you (revoke) and will tell you when you can re-apply for your licence. They will issue you with a new licence after the appropriate time period, provided you are declared fit to drive again by your doctor.

You do not have to re-take your driving test. However, the DVLA will make the final decision about whether to return your licence and will contact your consultant for further information about your fitness to drive.

Informing the DVLA about a medical condition

Once you have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumour, it is your responsibility to contact and inform the DVLA. You will also need to provide details if you develop a new condition or disability or one that has become worse since your licence was issued.

Failure to notify the DVLA is a criminal offence and may result in a fine of up to £1000.

Notifying the DVLA about your brain or spinal cord tumour: a step by step guide

Once you have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour, you must by law inform the DVLA.

  • When you inform the DVLA of your diagnosis, it is advisable to surrender your licence and send it to them at the same time. If you do not do this, the DVLA may revoke your licence. Gaining their permission to drive again is much lengthier and complex if your licence has been revoked.
  • You need to visit the DVLA website and complete the relevant form.
  • The DVLA will inform you how long it will be before you can apply to drive again. If they need more information, they will ask your permission to contact your doctor.
  • If you surrender your licence, you can apply to get it back 8 weeks before the end of the period for which you have been disqualified from driving. The DVLA will write to you. However, the DVLA will check that you fulfil the criteria for return of your licence. They will decide this based on information supplied by your doctor.
  • If your licence was revoked by the DVLA, the same application process as above applies. However, you cannot start driving until the DVLA decides whether or not you are medically fit to drive. This can take a long time as mentioned above.

Driving and tumour types

Most people will lose their licence for a period of time following the diagnosis of a brain or spinal cord tumour. The length of time you cannot drive for will depend on the type, grade and location of the tumour.

Additionally, if you have or have ever had fits (seizures), it must be at least 12 months since your last fit (seizure).

If you would like to discuss this further, for example the type and grading of your tumour, or you require assistance obtaining the relevant form, please ask a member of your treating team.

Epilepsy regulations and driving

Any person having had an epilepsy attack (seizure or fit) whilst awake must refrain from driving for at least 1 year from the date of the attack before a licence can be issued.

If you have a fit while asleep and have not previously had a sleeping fit then you will also have to stop driving for 1 year. If you continue to have seizures but only while asleep, then after 3 years you may be licensed providing no attacks have occurred whilst awake. This will be dealt with on an individual basis and is referred to as 'asleep concessions'.

An exception may be made if your fit was brought on by surgery and you fulfil all other criteria that mean you are safe to drive. In these circumstances, the DVLA would look at your individual case and medical circumstances before making a ruling.

For further advice or information about epilepsy regulations and driving, contact the DVLA.

What happens when the driving ban has elapsed?

You need to contact the DVLA 8 weeks before the end of the restricted time period. The DVLA will then write to your doctor for an updated medical report.

The DVLA will then make a decision based on this report and will contact you.

Further information about DVLA driving regulations for a medical condition

Last updated: February 2023