Driving with a Medical Condition
Many people are still able to drive despite having a medical condition, as their driving ability is unaffected. However, this is not always the case.
Even if you depend on having a driver’s licence and worry you will lose it, it is always beneficial to be up-front with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) concerning any medical conditions.
In fact, it is much better to voluntarily surrender your driver’s licence than have it revoked.
If you withhold information concerning a ‘notifiable’ medical condition from the DVLA, you could face a fine of up to £1,000. Should you suffer an accident, you could be prosecuted. The laws on drug driving also apply to legal, medicinal prescriptions.
A ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability refers to anything that could affect your ability to drive safely, including sleep apnoea neurological conditions such as epilepsy or strokes, mental health conditions, physical disabilities and visual impairments.
There is a comprehensive list provided by the Government; it is important that you notify the DVLA if you have a driving licence and have either developed – or experienced a deterioration in – any of the conditions listed.
If you give up your licence willingly, there is a chance you can start driving again a lot sooner than if you have it removed or refused for medical reasons.
Upon surrendering your licence, it is up to the DVLA to then assess your medical condition or disability to decide whether or not you are fit to be in possession of a driver’s licence. You may get to keep your old licence or be reissued with a new one, although these are usually only valid for up to three years.
Once the licence expires, your condition will be reviewed. In some cases, you may be able to fit your vehicle with adapted controls. If at any point you are deemed unfit to drive, however, your licence will be revoked.
In the event your licence is taken away, you will be given a medical reason as well as a date for when you may reapply for your licence.
It is also possible for you to appeal the decision through the Magistrates’ Court if you believe the DVLA’s decision to take your licence was not accurately justified.
If you find yourself in this situation, our Motoring Law specialist can advise you on the best course of action.