Epilepsy MUSC

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Seizures and Driving in South Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions About Seizures and Driving in South Carolina

Q. What is the South Carolina driving regulation regarding seizures?
A. The department of Motor Vehicles states that anyone who has had a seizure may not drive until he/she has been completely free of such episodes for at least six months.


Q. Does the regulation apply only to epileptic seizures?
A. The driving regulation applies to epileptic seizures, but there are also driving restrictions due to episodes of loss of awareness due to a variety of causes (passing out, “syncope”, fainting for example). While the regulations do address other medical conditions, we will focus on seizures in this information sheet.


Q. Is my doctor/medical provider required to report me to the state?
A. No. South Carolina does not require medical providers to report patients to the department of motor vehicles. The patient is responsible for notifying the state if he/ she has had a seizure and wishes to drive.


Q. Can my doctor/medical provider give me permission to drive if he/she thinks it is reasonable to do so?
A. No. Physicians and other medical providers do not have the legal authority to revoke or grant driving privileges.


Q. Can a patient who has had a seizure drive legally if he/she simply does not report the seizure to the department of motor vehicles?
A. No. The law states that if a patient has had a seizure, he may not drive until he has been seizure free for at least 6 months. Deciding to not inform the department of motor vehicles does not constitute being seizure free.

Q. How does the South Carolina law compare to other states?
A. The South Carolina law is similar to many states. The law does however vary considerably from state-to-state. Some states do not allow driving for up to 12 months, while some allow driving after three
months seizure-free. Some states currently require physicians and other medical providers to report patients to the state, but most do not. For an overview of state by state regulations, visit the epilepsy foundation of America website (www.efa.org)

Q. If there are special circumstances about my seizures (a reliable warning or aura, or seizures that occur during sleep, for example), may I drive?
A. In certain circumstances, the department of motor vehicles may allow a patient to drive. However, the patient (or the patient’s physician) does not have the legal authority to grant such an exception on their own. Typically, having a warning prior to a seizure will not result in a person who has had a seizure to be allowed to drive. For exceptions to the six-month regulation, a person who has had a seizure must apply to the department of motor vehicles.

Q. Does the South Carolina law apply to all forms of driving?
A. No. The regulation discussed on this information sheet is for driving a personal vehicle. South Carolina has adopted the federal requirements regarding the licensing of truck drivers. Persons with epilepsy are not approved for large or passenger-for-hire vehicles carrying more than 16 passengers. Individuals must meet the standards for a personal vehicle license to be eligible to drive a taxi or buses carrying less than 16 passengers.

 
 
 

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