Seizures and Driving in Tennessee Explained

May 9, 2017
Seizure driving in tennessee

Driving With A Seizure Disorder

The so-called “6-month restriction on driving after any seizure,” is actually common medico-legal myth in Tennessee.

As to a specific period of time after which a person who has a seizure must stop driving, there is simply no such law in Tennessee. Under TN Code §55-50-502, the Department may suspend the driver's license of any person who is incompetent to drive a motor vehicle. However, absent an actual suspension by the state, there is no law that prohibits a person who has had a seizure during any particular period of time from driving.

Under TN Admin. Rules 1340-1-4-06(2)(i),
"The Department shall not issue a driver license or certificate for driving to anyone who suffers from uncontrolled epilepsy (also known as a seizure disorder), momentary lapses of consciousness or control due to epilepsy, cardiac syncope, diabetes, or other conditions until the driver has remained seizure-free or lapse free for a period of one (1) year, and then only upon receipt of a favorable medical statement from the driver’s physician. Provided, however, the driver may be approved for driving privileges if the driver’s condition has been controlled for six (6) months* and the Department receives a favorable recommendation from the driver’s physician and the Medical Review Board and the Department approves the issuance of the driver license or certificate for driving." *This rule, which only applies to the RE-ISSUANCE of a suspended license, appears to be the source of the misunderstanding of the law.

There are two general ways you can be reported:
1. Self-Report: Tennessee driver's license applications (first-time and renewal) seeks whether you are being treated for “any physical or mental condition that would interfere with your ability to drive.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-50-322(a)(1)(A) requires applicants who answer yes to this question must describe their conditions and must have medical evaluation forms filled out by their physicians and could even require a driving examination.

2. Reported by Others: Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1340-1-4-.06(2)(a), (b), (k)(1)-(5) basically states that potentially dangerous drivers can be reported to the Department of Safety in Tennessee by physicians, friends, relatives, police officers, the courts, or the public, or any other.

Doctors are NOT required to report seizures. There is no statutory authority to require physicians to report drivers with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely to a central state agency.

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