Asthma and epilepsy

23 years ago, I was diagnosed with petit mal in the left temporal lobe, which was attributed to reduced oxygen levels during asthmatic episodes. As a result I was advised not to drive and, because I still get episodes, last bad one was in Dec 2007, I've not driven since 1985. You have to be attack free for 3 years to be permitted to drive.

Does anyone else have this problem?

2 Replies

  • I'm not really sure if I'm answering your question properly, but my sister is epileptic and so is my boyfriend's mum and I was under the impression you can drive if you haven't had an epileptic fit (whether petit mal or any other form) in the last 12 months. I could be wrong, my sister doesn't drive anyway because she can't read or write, and my boyfriend's mum didn't drive for years but was thinking of going back to it, and I'm sure she said the doctor said she could as long as she'd not had a fit in the last 12 months.

    Could be different for you since yours always happens when you have an attack and so yours would probably be more frequent than normal.

    Claire x

  • Hi

    What you describe sounds like partial seizures, although many years ago it was called petite mal.

    The driving regs state that you can drive once you have been completely free of any symptoms of seizures for one year. That is whether your seizures happened awake or asleep.

    For someone who has had sleep seizures only' and has not had one year seizure free, they can apply for a driving licence once they have a pattern of 3 years sleep seizures only. This is because they are deemed to be low risk for having an awake seizure. However, should an awake seizure then occur, you go back to having to be one year completely seizure free.

    The three years is only for sleep seizures, for people who cannot meet the one year seizure free period.

    It seems a bit confusing, but you can read more info on

    By the way, people with epilepsy who would be denied a driving licence due to their seizures, can apply for a concessionary bus pass and, so long as they are taking anti-convulsants, a disabled person's rail card. Info about these concessions is available on the above link too.


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