Holding a driving licence is not only a symbol of independence, it’s essential for millions of the UK workforce to carry out their day-to-day roles.

As drivers, we are required to ensure that our health – both physical and mental – is in a state that allows us to operate a vehicle safely and competently.

Not just for our own safety, but for the safety of others on the road. So, when a medical condition enters the equation, it can bring a host of questions and concerns.

In this article, we’re taking a look at the common medical issues and questions drivers and fleet managers have about how medical conditions affect a driver’s licence and eligibility to drive.

What medical conditions can stop you driving?

The most important thing off the top is to be aware that if you’ve developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA.

If you don’t report a condition to the DVLA that affects your driving, you can be fined up to £1,000.

In addition to this, if you’re involved in an accident as a result of your condition, you could face serious legal ramifications.

Here are some of the medical conditions that you should notify the DVLA about, either if you’ve recently developed the condition or the symptoms have worsened:

Epilepsy: If you have a seizure or are diagnosed with epilepsy, you’re typically required to stop driving and inform the DVLA. The rules depend on the type of seizures and their frequency.

Vision Problems: Certain vision problems, like not meeting the minimum eyesight standard or having a condition that affects both eyes, can seriously impact your ability to drive safely.

Heart Conditions: Certain serious heart conditions, especially those that could lead to sudden dizziness or fainting.

Neurological Conditions: Conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or any other condition affecting your nervous system can impact your ability to drive safely.

Diabetes: If you are insulin-treated and have had episodes of severe hypoglycaemia, you need to inform the DVLA.

Psychiatric Disorders: Severe mental health issues that impair judgement, perception, or behavioural control.

Sleep Disorders: Conditions like severe obstructive sleep apnoea or narcolepsy, which can cause sudden sleepiness, need to be evaluated by the DVLA.

Age-Related Decline: In older adults, a combination of factors like reduced vision, hearing impairment, slower reaction times, and cognitive decline can lead to the need to surrender a driving licence.

Physical Disabilities: Physical disabilities that significantly impair the ability to control a vehicle can also be a reason.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and individual circumstances can vary.

The key principle is whether a medical condition affects one’s ability to drive safely.

The DVLA provides detailed guidance on various conditions and the requirements for reporting them.

Will I have to surrender my licence?

The main concern for anyone who drives for work, to commute to work, or even for personal use is losing their licence due to medical reasons.

However, if the DVLA decides to revoke a driving licence, it’s always going to be with the safety of road users in mind.

We can’t tell you if you’re going to have to surrender your licence, that will always come down to individual circumstances.

You should never let this hold you back from contacting the DVLA about a medical condition though, as the potential of causing a road accident is obviously a much worse scenario than losing your licence.

What happens when I notify the DVLA of a medical condition?

When you report a medical issue to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK, the following process typically unfolds:

Submission of Information: You start by filling out the appropriate form related to your specific medical condition. This form can be found on the DVLA’s website.

The form requires detailed information about your medical condition, treatment, and how it affects your ability to drive.

Review by DVLA: Once you have submitted the form, the DVLA reviews your case. This review process can vary in length, depending on the complexity of your medical condition and the clarity of the information provided.

Medical Investigations: The DVLA may contact your GP or any specialists involved in your treatment to get more information about your condition.

In some cases, they might ask you to undergo a medical examination, which could be with your own doctor or a specialist appointed by the DVLA. They might also request you to undergo a driving assessment.

Decision Making: Based on the information and medical reports, the DVLA will make a decision.

This decision can range from allowing you to retain your licence without any restrictions, to issuing a licence for a shorter period (which might require regular medical assessments), to requiring certain adaptations to your vehicle, or in some cases, revoking your licence altogether.

Notification: You will be notified of the decision in writing. If your licence is revoked or your driving privileges are altered, the letter will explain the reasons and provide information on the appeals process if you disagree with the decision.

Remember, the primary concern of the DVLA is to ensure that all drivers on the road are medically fit to drive, ensuring safety for all road users.

The process is designed to be thorough and fair, taking into account each individual’s circumstances.