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Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson's Centre

Epilepsy Blog

Teens, Epilepsy, and Driving

When it comes to being a teenager, obtaining a driver’s license and having the ability to explore the terrain with the use of a motorized vehicle can be high on the list of things they typically look forward to. This may not be the reality for some teens that experience seizures during the daytime, unfortunately. It is not the end of the world, although it may feel that way. It likely seems extremely unfair to be prohibited on this rite of passage, but the stipulation is in place for obvious safety reasons. Please know that there may be the potential for getting a license issued if seizure-free for a period of time, depending on your individual situation. Matters taken into consideration include medication adherence, type/frequency of seizures, and the time of day of your seizure activity.

 

See Epilepsy and the Law  for details on the provisions and considerations.

Driving may or may not be a part of your future, it all depends. The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in Victoria requires drivers with epilepsy to submit medical reports and they assesses on a case-by-case basis. On the whole, if your seizures are well controlled by medication and you take them diligently, you may eventually be able to drive. “A driver who has been seizure-free on medication for not less than six months, and who is conscientiously and reliably taking their medication, may be licensed as a Private Driver (Class 5, 6, 7, or 8) without undue risk, provided their medication does not affect muscular coordination or alertness” (Driver with Epilepsy Fact Sheet, OSMV).

If you do not fall into this category and driving privileges are not in the cards, here are some tips:

  • Planning is key. Become familiar with your public transit services and get to know the schedules, rates, and routes. For Greater Victoria, visit www.transitbc.com. You’ll be a whiz in no time.  
  • Consider traveling via bicycle if you feel comfortable and are physically able to do so. Biking can be a fun way of getting around. Investigate designated bike routes and lanes or travel on streets with minimal traffic. Get a good lock and don’t forget to always wear a helmet.
  • Ask family and friends for assistance. They may be able to give you a ride to the same or nearby locations of where you are headed.
  • Talk to a parent/caregiver or responsible person about the possibility of car pooling or ridesharing opportunities in your area to get where you are going.
  • Wear something on your person such as a piece of jewelry that indicates that you experience seizures in case you have one in public. Also, be sure to be familiarize yourself with seizure first aid Do’s & Don’ts for the purpose of informing others so they can better support and protect you in the event of a seizure (seizure first aid cards can be obtained from our office for you to distribute to loved ones).

 

Posted by Sonya Dhudwal on 6th Jan 2015 10:52am