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Brain tumours and driving

Men and women discussing brain tumours

This page tells you about driving after you have had a brain tumour. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Brain tumours and driving

You may not be allowed to drive for a while after you have had a brain tumour. This depends on the type of brain tumour you had, where it was in the brain and the treatment you had. For many types, you cannot drive for 2 years. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) have guidelines about driving for people who have had a brain tumour. The advice and guidance does change, so always check with them.

Fits

You cannot drive for at least a year after you have had an epileptic fit at any point, or been on anti fit medicines. 

DVLA driving regulations

By law, you have to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) about your medical condition. They will take back your licence and issue you with a new one, once you are declared fit to drive again by your doctor. You don't have to take your driving test again.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the living with brain tumours section.

 

DVLA guidelines about driving and brain tumours

You may not be allowed to drive for a while after you have had a brain tumour. This depends on the type of brain tumour you had and where it was in the brain. It may also depend on the type of treatment you had. 

The guidance varies with the type of licence you have. The information below is for people holding a car and motorcycle (group 1) licence. The medical rules for people with a large lorry and bus (group 2) licence are generally much stricter.

The guidance changes so it is best to look at the DVLA website for the most up to date information.

The guidelines include specific information about the following

Fits (seizures)

You can't drive for at least a year after you have

  • Had an epileptic fit at any point
  • Been on anti epileptic (anticonvulsant) medicines

Benign tumours

If you have had a benign brain tumour in the rear part of the brain or the brain stem provided you have not had a fit or disability which might affect your ability to drive, you can drive as soon as you have recovered from your treatment. But you should let the DVLA know. 

If you have had an acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma), you don't have to tell the DVLA, unless the tumour has caused any dizziness. If you had sterotactic radiosurgery (single treatment) you cannot drive for one month after treatment.

If you have had a grade 1 meningioma, you may be allowed to drive again 6 months after surgery, if you haven't had any fits. If you have had treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery you won't be able to drive for at least a month. If you have had a grade 2 meningioma you can't drive for a year after treatment, and a grade 3 tumour for 2 years. 

If you have had any other type of benign brain tumour anywhere else in your brain, you cannot drive for a year. Then you will be given a short term licence (probably for 3 years). After 3 years, you will be assessed again, and may have your ‘until 70 years old’ licence returned.

Pituitary tumours

Generally speaking, you can drive again once you are fully recovered from a pituitary tumour. However if you were surgically treated by craniotomy rather than transphenoidal surgery, you can't drive for at least 6 months. The DVLA will need medical evidence that you are fit to drive before you get your licence back. So they will be in contact with your specialist before you get your licence.

Glioma (including astrocytoma, ependymoma and oligodendroglioma)

If you had a grade 1 or 2 glioma, you can't drive for a year after treatment. Then your situation will be reviewed and you may get your licence back.

If you had a grade 3 or 4 glioma, you can't drive for 2 years. Then your situation will be reviewed and if you have no disabilities that might affect your ability to drive safely, then the DVLA may issue you with a new license. The new license may last for 1 or 2 years with regular reviews. All these decisions are taken after consulting your specialist.

If your tumour progresses you will have to let the DVLA know and they are likely to sop you driving again. 

Other tumours 

Any malignant (high grade) brain tumour, other than those listed above, means you can't drive for 2 years.

If you had a brain tumour as a child

If you had a brain tumour as a child, but you have grown up without any recurrence of the tumour, you can have a regular licence that will be valid until you are 70.

 

About the DVLA driving regulations

The regulations about driving are issued by the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority in Swansea. By law, you have to tell the DVLA about your medical condition. They will take back your licence and issue you with a new one, once you are declared fit to drive again by your doctor. You don't have to re take your driving test. You will just get your licence back once you are declared fit. 

The return of your licence is not automatic once you have given it up for medical reasons. The DVLA will contact your specialist and will make each decision on an individual basis depending on what your doctor says about your level of fitness and the risk of further symptoms.

You can find information about the medical rules for drivers on the DVLA website.

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Updated: 10 November 2015