Medical conditions, disabilities and driving

By Lewis on 16th October 2017 - View Comments

If you have certain medical conditions or disabilities you may still be able to drive. It can be confusing on where to start so we thought we’d share with you some useful advice. Here’s what the DVSA have to say…

1. Telling DVLA about a medical condition or disability

You must tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and:
* you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability
* a condition or disability has got worse since you got your licence

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely.

They can include:
* epilepsy
* strokes
* other neurological and mental health conditions
* physical disabilities
* visual impairments

If you’re in Northern Ireland you must contact the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

How to tell DVLA
Check if you need to tell DVLA about your condition to find the forms or questionnaires you need. The address you need is on the forms.
There are different forms for different conditions and disabilities.
Contact DVLA if you’re not sure what to do.
You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a condition that might affect your ability to drive safely. You could also be prosecuted if you have an accident.

Surrendering your licence
You must surrender your licence to DVLA if your doctor tells you that you need to stop driving for 3 months or more because of your medical condition.
You can apply to get your licence back when you meet the medical standards for driving again.

First licence or renewal if you’re 70 or over
You must also tell DVLA about notifiable conditions if you:
* apply for your first licence
* renew your licence (if you’re 70 or over)
You’ll be asked for this information in your application form. You don’t need to contact DVLA separately.

2. What happens after you tell DVLA

You’ll usually get a decision within 6 weeks. You’ll get a letter from DVLA if it’s going to take longer.
DVLA might:
* contact your doctor or consultant
* arrange for you to be examined
* ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving test

You can usually keep driving while DVLA are considering your application.
If you’ve told DVLA about a condition when applying to renew your licence, follow the guidance about driving that’s in the form.

Contact DVLA if you need advice or to check on your case.

3. What DVLA will decide

DVLA will assess your medical condition or disability and decide if:
* you need to get a new driving licence
* you can have a shorter licence – for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years
* you need to adapt your car by fitting special controls
* you must stop driving and give up your licence

You need to adapt your vehicle
If you’ve been told that you must adapt your car, you get an independent assessment of your adaptation needs through the Forum of Mobility Centres.
Find out more about adapting your vehicle and where to get special controls fitted through the Ricability charity.

You must stop driving
You’ll be given a medical reason why you must stop driving, and be told if and when you can reapply for your licence.

If you disagree with DVLA’s decision
You can write to DVLA if you disagree with the decision to stop you driving.
DM Business Support
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You must include:
* proof that you meet the required standards for driving (for example, a letter from your doctor or consultant)
* the reference number from the letter DVLA sent you

You can also appeal the decision if you contact your local magistrate’s court within 6 months, or your local sheriff’s court in Scotland within 21 days.

4. Renewing or reapplying for your licence

How you reapply for or renew your licence depends on if you had to give up your licence, or if you have a short-term licence.

You’ve got a short-term licence

DVLA will send you a renewal letter 90 days before your 1, 2, 3 or 5-year licence is due to expire.
Renew your licence online, or send the renewal reminder back by post.

You gave up your licence and stopped driving

The letter DVLA sends you when your licence is taken away tells you if you have to wait before you can reapply.
You must check with your doctor that you’re fit to drive before you reapply for your licence, if it was taken away because of a medical condition.

We hope this has been useful but if there’s a condition you still need help with, you only have to ask.

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