Dizziness in Europe: from licensed fitness to drive to licence without fitness to drive

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A common European Community driving licence was established in 1980. However, there are major differences among the countries as regards medical conditions that legally affect driving ability. This article discusses various assessment guidelines for dizzy patients. These range from a total absence of specified binding requirements in Finland or regulations open to clinical interpretation in Switzerland, to inappropriately strict regulations in Germany. We focus on requirements for patients with vestibular disorders in Germany which have been in force since 2014. These guidelines stipulate that for group 1 driving licence (private cars < 3.5 t, motorbikes): (1) patients with Menière’s disease (attacks without prodromes) must have had no attacks for 2 years before it is possible to drive again. (2) Patients with vestibular migraine without prodromes must not have had any attacks for 3 years. For a group 1 and group 2 driving licence (“professional driver”): (3) patients with bilateral vestibulopathy as a rule are considered to have a driving disability. Similarly, strict restrictions have been formulated for ocular motor disorders such as downbeat and upbeat nystagmus and for patients with functional (psychosomatic) forms of dizziness such as phobic postural vertigo. The authors represent a working group of the European Dizzynet focusing on the topic “fitness to drive with vertigo and balance disorders”. They agree that European guidelines must be revised and harmonized, for some are too strict and the required dizziness-free intervals are too long; others must be revised, for they are too lax. A common European standard is needed.


  • Doreen Huppert
  • Dominik Straumann
  • Mans Magnusson
  • Ilmari Pyykkö
  • Thomas Brandt
External organisations
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich
  • University of Tampere
  • University of Zurich
  • University Hospital of Zurich
  • University Hospital Munich
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology


  • Balance disorders, Dizziness, Driving licence, Driving restrictions, Fitness to drive, Vertigo
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-17
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch