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Brain tumours and driving

Driving can be affected by having a brain tumour and its treatment. The restrictions depend upon the type and grade of your brain tumour.

You might not be allowed to drive for some time when you are diagnosed with a brain tumour. This depends on the type of tumour you have and where it is in the brain. It might also depend upon the type of treatment you have. 

The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidelines are for those holding a car and motorcycle (group 1) licence. These guidelines apply to the information below.

The medical rules for people with a large lorry or bus (group 2) licence are generally much stricter. 

The DVLA guidelines are regularly updated. 

Driving regulations

Fits (seizures)

You can't drive for a year after you have:

  • had an epileptic fit 
  • been on anti epileptic (anticonvulsant) medicines 

Benign tumours 

You can drive as soon as you have recovered from treatment if you have a tumour at the back of your brain or brain stem. But this is providing you are not having fits (seizures) or you don’t have a disability that could affect your driving. You must inform the DVLA about your tumour. 

You do not need to tell the DVLA if you are diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma (acoustic neuroma), unless the tumour has caused dizziness. But you cannot drive for a month after treatment if you have stereotactic (targeted) radiotherapy. 

You might be allowed to drive 6 months after your surgery if you have a grade 1 (slow growing) meningioma. This is providing you are not having fits (seizures). You cannot drive for a year after treatment if you have a grade 2 meningioma. If your tumour is grade 3, you can’t drive for 2 years after treatment.

You can’t drive for a year after treatment if you have a benign tumour in another part of your brain. You are given a short term licence (usually for 3 years). You will be reassessed after this. 

Pituitary tumours 

You can usually drive again after you have recovered from treatment for a pituitary tumour. If you have a craniotomy (instead of transphenoidal surgery) you can't drive for 6 months. The DVLA will need medical evidence before you get your licence back. 

Glioma (including astrocytoma, ependymoma and oligodendroglioma)

You won't be able to drive for a year after treatment if you have a grade 1 or 2 (slow growing) glioma. Your situation will be reviewed after a year. You might then get your licence back. 

Treatment for grade 3 or 4 (fast growing) glioma means you cannot drive for 2 years. You may be able to drive again if you are not having fits (seizures) or you don’t have any disability that affects your ability to drive. Your new licence might be for a year with regular reviews. All decisions are taken after speaking with your specialist. 

You should tell the DVLA if your tumour starts to grow again. It is very likely you will need to stop driving again.

Other tumours 

You can't drive for 2 years if you have any other high grade (fast growing) brain tumour.

If you had a brain tumour as a child 

You can have a regular licence if you had a brain tumour as a child and you have not had a recurrence. This is valid until you are 70, as with a regular licence. 

Getting your driving license back

By law you must tell the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about your medical condition. 

They will take back your driving licence whilst you are having treatment. You need to provide medical information to the DVLA when your specialist has declared that you are fit to drive. 

The return of your driving licence is not automatic after you have given it up for medical reasons. The DVLA will contact your specialist and make decisions on an individual basis. It depends on what your doctor says about your level of fitness and the risk of further symptoms. You do not need to resit your driving test.

Information and help

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