As part of our support for the British Heart Foundation’s “wear it red campaign” we are issuing guidance to those living with heart conditions, and providing advice about the impact which your condition could have on your ability to drive.
If a person suffers or has previously suffered from a medical condition or disability that can affect driving ability they must notify the DVLA. Failure to do so is a criminal offence which is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000. It is also important to notify the insurance company to ensure that you are still covered to drive under the terms of the policy.
If a person then drives after becoming aware of their condition or a deterioration of their condition they could face 3-6 penalty points on their driving licence for failure to notify the DVLA.
Information about potentially notifiable conditions can be found at www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving.
After viewing the website, if a person still has concerns over their condition and whether it should be reported, they can contact the DVLA’s helpline on 0300 790 6806. They will make a note of your condition and if no further action is required, they will send you a letter to confirm their decision. The letter can then be sent to the insurance company as proof that the condition has been reported.
If a person is informed by their doctor that they must stop driving they must surrender their licence to the DVLA. By surrendering their licence it removes the need for the DVLA to make formal enquiries into the person fitness to drive.
After informing the DVLA
The DVLA aim to make a decision within 3 weeks, however it could take up to 90 working days if more information is needed to assess the medical condition. In these circumstances they could:
- contact the persons doctor or consultant
- arrange for the person to be examined
- ask the person to take a driving assessment or an eyesight or driving test
The DVLA has a number of options once a person’s medical condition or disability has been assessed. They can either:
- give a person their old licence back or give them a new one
- issue the person with a shorter period licence (1,2,3,years) after which the person’s condition would need to be reviewed
- inform the person of any adaptations to their car that are needed
- inform the person that they must stop driving and take their licence away
Renewing or reapplying for your licence
If a person has been prevented from driving they will receive information from the DVLA on how to re-apply for their licence. The person will need to check with their doctor that they meet the medical standards of fitness before reapplying.
If a person has been given a short period driving licence they will receive renewal application documents 90 days before the licence is due to expire.
If a person surrendered their licence voluntarily they can apply to have it reinstated if their medical condition no longer means they are unfit to drive. The person can resume driving if they meet the following criteria:
- They have logged a valid application with the DVLA
- They would not be refused a licence for medical reasons and are fit to drive (this should be checked with a doctor)
- They must have held a GB or Northern Ireland licence (or another exchangeable licence) since January 1, 1976
- They keep to any special conditions that apply to them, or their licence (eg. must use special controls or can only drive an automatic)
- They are not disqualified from driving
If a person disagrees with the decision to revoke their licence they can appeal to the Magistrates Court within 6 months of the decision. They must also notify the DVLA of the decision to appeal.
If you are suffering from a heart condition or any other medical condition which could affect your ability to drive then contact Forster Dean Solicitors’ specialist Motoring Law Department today on 0333 323 1830 for free initial advice.