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Brain tumours: DVLA driving regulations

Patient information A-Z

This factsheet explains the rules on driving for people diagnosed with a brain tumour.

These regulations only apply to Group 1 driving entitlements (car and motorcycle licence). It does not apply to Group 2 entitlements - large lorries (category C) and buses (category D). For this group please contact the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea for more details.

The driving regulations are issued by the DVLA. If for medical reasons you are not fit to drive, the DVLA will take your licence from you. They will issue you with a new one once you are declared fit to drive again by your doctor. You do not have to re-take your driving test. The DVLA will contact your specialist and will take each decision on an individual basis depending on what your doctor says about your level of fitness and risk of further symptoms.

Informing the DVLA about a medical condition

By law you must inform the DVLA if you have had, or currently suffer from a medical condition or disability that may affect your driving including:

  • problems with your nervous system
  • treatment, weakness or visual problem that prevents normal daily activities
  • medication that causes side effects likely to affect safe driving

In other words, as soon as you are diagnosed with a brain tumour you must 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.

You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell the DVLA about a condition that might affect your ability to drive safely. You could also be prosecuted if you have an accident.

Quick step-by-step guide

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

When you inform the DVLA of your diagnosis, it is a good idea to surrender your licence and send it to them at the same time. Failure to do so may result in the DVLA revoking your licence – this makes the process much more complicated. Gaining permission to drive again is much lengthier and more complex if your licence has been revoked.

If you surrendered your licence, you can apply to get it back two months before the end of the period for which you have been disqualified from driving – providing that your doctor has told you that you are fit to drive. You can start driving as soon as you have lodged this application.

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 be a long drawn out process.

Please read the below brain tumour information and if required, fill in the “Declaration of Surrender for Medical Reasons” form (available from the DVLA), see link: Declaration of Surrender for Medical Reasons (opens in a new tab) and send it to the following address:

Drivers Medical Group
SA99 1TU

Contact for further information

Drivers' Medical Enquiries
SA99 1TU

Telephone: 0843 837 0758

08:30 (8:30am) to 17:00 (5pm) Monday to Friday

Closed Saturday and Sunday

Contact the DVLA (opens in a new tab)
DVLA health conditions information (opens in a new tab)
DVLA fitness to drive information (opens in a new tab)

DVLA guidelines

You must inform the DVLA of your condition. Below are some of the guidelines that the DVLA issue. To view / download the full medical rules document, please visit the DVLA web address above.


Do I have epilepsy if I have had a fit?

Many people have a one-off seizure (also referred to as a fit) at some point in their life that can be caused by a number of things, for instance medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. You may also have had a fit if you have undergone neurosurgery as this can cause temporary irritation to the lining of the brain. This is very different to someone who suffers from epilepsy.

Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological condition in the UK. It causes recurrent seizures / fits that arise from the brain itself due to abnormal electrical activity within the brain. Medication is required to control its symptoms.

Epilepsy regulations

  • Any person having had an epilepsy attack / fit whilst awake must refrain from driving for at least one year from the date of the attack.
  • If you have a fit while asleep and haven't previously had a sleeping fit then you will have to stop driving for one year. If you only suffer night-time attacks and have had no daytime seizures over the last three years then you may be licensed providing no daytime attacks happen. 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 as a result of intracranial 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.

Driving and brain tumour types

You may not be allowed to drive for a while after you have had a brain tumour. This will depend on the type of brain tumour you had, any treatment required and where it was/is located.

Benign (WHO grade I) supratentorial and non-parenchymal tumours

This means tumours arising from the lining of your brain and not from the brain tissue itself. You must not drive and you must notify the DVLA.

Driving may resume after six months provided there is no debarring residual impairment likely to affect safe driving. The epilepsy regulations apply if there is relevant seizure history – in which case, driving must cease for 12 months from surgery or from last seizure.

Benign (WHO grade I) infratentorial tumours (eg within the cerebellum)

With this condition, you may drive and need not notify the DVLA. Driving may resume on recovery from treatment.

WHO grade II meningioma

This is treated with surgery and/or radiotherapy; you must not drive and must notify the DVLA. Driving may resume one year after completion of treatment. Epilepsy regulations apply if there is relevant seizure history.

WHO III meningioma (also referred to as anaplastic)

With this condition, you must not drive and must notify the DVLA. Driving may resume two years after the completion of primary treatment.

Incidental and asymptomatic meningioma

If you have not had any surgery and the meningioma is an incidental finding with no associated fits, you can retain your licence and drive as normal, and you do not need to notify the DVLA.

Pituitary tumours

If your pituitary tumour has been surgically treated with a craniotomy, you must not drive and you must notify the DVLA. Driving may resume after six months providing there is no visual field defect.

If it has been dealt with from a transsphenoidal (nasal) approach or treated with radiotherapy for instance, you must not drive but need not notify the DVLA. You are allowed to drive on recovery, provided there are no lasting problems such as visual field disturbances. We advise you discuss this with your treating consultant.

Supratentorial gliomas

This means tumours arising from the brain tissue itself. If you had a WHO grade I or II glioma (sometimes referred to as low grade gliomas), you must not drive and must notify the DVLA.

Driving must cease for six months following a biopsy, if there has been no other treatment. Driving may resume one year after completion of primary treatment. A one year license will usually be considered. Where there is imaging evidence of tumour recurrence or progression licensing may be considered if:

  • there has been a one year seizure-free period
  • there is no clinical disease progression
  • no further primary treatment (with the exception of chemotherapy) was required for the recurrence.

WHO III meningioma: Must not drive and must notify the DVLA. Driving may resume two years after the completion of primary treatment. If you had a WHO grade III or IV glioma (sometimes referred to as high grade gliomas), metastatic deposit(s) or CNS lymphoma you cannot drive for at least two years after your primary treatment is complete.

Infratentorial gliomas (grade II, III and IV)

Must not drive and must notify the DVLA. Driving may resume one year (grade II) or two years (grades III and IV) after the completion of primary treatment.

Infratentorial brain metastasis

Must not drive and must notify the DVLA. Relicensing may be considered one year after completion of the primary treatment if the patient is otherwise well.

Medulloblastoma or low grade ependymomas

Must not drive and must notify the DVLA. If either of these tumours have been completely removed with surgery, you will be considered for licensing one year after primary treatment as long as there is no recurrence.

High grade ependymomas, and other primary malignant brain tumours

If you have any brain tumour other than those listed above, normally a period of two years driving restriction is imposed after completion of primary treatment.

If you are in doubt about any of the above, especially in regard to the type and grading of your tumour, please ask your key worker/ nurse for advice, or contact the DVLA medical enquiries address at the start of this leaflet.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151