Latest research shows that just last year alone, nearly 12,000 new drivers lost their licence under the New Driver Act, and in 2019 (up to July), 42,500 drivers lost their licence on medical grounds; over the last six years, 363,280 licences have been revoked through medical conditions.
Tip of the iceberg
With that said, some of the conditions seem impractical to self-declare – low blood sugar, sleepiness and even déjà vu, and some seem … like they were written in the 70s; you need to self-declare a hysterectomy, or caesarean section (and they’re listed separately to ‘Surgery’, the assumption being that they’re not talking recent).
“You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving, but is that really a strong enough deterrent?”
“With so many of us reliant on our cars for work and pleasure, there will be drivers on the road who think it’s worth the risk to keep quiet because handing in their driving licence could mean losing their mobility, their job and not seeing their family and friends.”
On the face of it, a graduated licence could make sense – any 17-year-old with enough money could (in theory) learn to drive, pass their test and jump straight in to a 700+hp supercar without any further training or education, but that’s not what Brake are calling for.
If you ride a motorcycle, you’ll be aware that there are graduated licences (that restrict horsepower and engine capacity), and even before you get anywhere near a road, you have to undertake a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course, but no such thing exists for cars.
It could be argued that learning to drive has never been easier – certain elements have been removed from the test, to be replaced with tasks such as checking the screenwash fluid, and of course, new technology means that testing dexterity (like a hill-start) is also a thing of the past.
Don’t fall foul of self-declaration
To be on the safe side, you should check whether your illness should or could be declared by you – you could face a £1,000 fine, be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result of the problem, and in some cases, your insurance could be invalid if caught driving with a known medical problem.
If you do find yourself in the position of having your licence removed, all is not lost; you can reapply for a driving licence once your doctor agrees that you meet the medical standards. Voluntarily surrendering your licence is slightly different: you can still drive while you renew the licence if you have the support of your doctor, a valid licence, that you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence, that you haven’t been disqualified or your licence revoked and the application is less than 12-months old.
With these numbers of drivers losing their licenses per day – how come the roads are still jam packed 😉
Hogging the middle lane of a motorway is not classed as medical impairment – just pure, unadulterated f**kwittedness.
Not everyone takes any notice of having their licence suspended! Which means that they are driving without a license or insurance
Because they lose there licence and still carry on driving. They also stand a good chance that they shall not get caught as there are very limited police on the roads.
I know several people who drive using false details! I have reported them, but they continue driving anyway!
HGVs cause a lot of congestion. Unfortunately, there are those selfish drivers who crawl past a slightly slower vehicle for mile after mile, creating a mobile road block. The M42/A42 is notorious for this. As all HGVs are limited there’s a good case for restricting them to the inside lane of any road so they can travel in convoy.
This isn’t a problem in Germany where drivers have much better lane discipline and are more alert to faster traffic. They keep right unless overtaking. I suspect the shock of a powerful Merc or Audi approaching at very high speed keeps everyone on their toes. People also move aside for faster traffic. This works well. A shame we don’t operate a similar approach in the UK.
Why not derestrict HGVs from the 56mph limit so that they can overtake more easily and without causing a mighty nuisance to other traffic on motorways? Nowadays HGV tractors are significantly more powerful than they were in past decades and better able to cope with hauling heavy trailers at speed. Unrestricted, HGVs could easily keep up with motorway traffic upto and well beyond the speed limit. The speed limiters are nowadays a bureaucratic nonsense (probably dreamt up by the European Commission, I wouldn’t be surprised).
Points made about inattentive drivers with poor lane discipline are totally valid. It might make other drivers pay more attention if they faced the possibility of a 44-tonne articulated lorry closing upon them at 70mph.
I didn’t have my license revoked I was put in some kind of “ watch thing” I don’t know either ,
I asked the DVLA why on numerous occasions, and the response I kept getting is “ you have a condition “ when asked what condition, the same again “ you got a condition “ no one not even my doctor could tell me what the “ condition “ was that I was meant to if had
If I knew of anything that’d interfere with my driving I’d stop driving as the last thing I’d want is to kill , injure , maim , others or myself
I was refused a licence renewal because questionnaires to my GP showed I had been dependent on alcohol in the last 12 months. This from a GP who I’ve never even heard of, let alone seen, and the fact that I barely touch alcohol. The DVLA are no help at all, the call centres are manned by morons who either can’t or won’t tell you anything and doctors that you are not allowed to speak to. They are a law unto themselves and there is nothing you can do unless you can afford a good solicitor.
Moggie63 : You should not expect sympathy from responsible motorists given that you allowed yourself to become dependent on alcohol as recently as less than 12 months ago.
Kids today aren’t bothered with not having a license, they will still drive without one. The penalty is so minimal for the offence that they think it worth risking. Some have had no training either, and think they are kings of the road, but drive like clowns. They only get caught when there is an accident or a vigilant police officer stops them.
I am diabetic on insulin and being over 70, have a 3 year license, but that can be removed at anytime, so I am careful to keep my condition in check, and on long journeys, comply with the law about testing etc.
I had to send my licence to the DVLA as they requested it, they also needed clarification from my GP and Consultant’s that they believed I was fit to drive in their Professional opinion. I recieved a new licence with “No Restrictions ” they even gave me my motorcycle licence back . Okay the licence is slightly different in colour to my old one, If I am told by my GP or Consultant to notify DVLA of any changes then it would be possible to lose my licence if I fail to comply. I only drive approx 1000 miles per year as the mileage and condition of my car shows ( I also have all the service records +old MOT’s for my 1986 Audi,with less than 34 k recorded mileage) I kept my car and sacked the Wife (ha ha )
BRAKE are aiming to nail a very serious problem, all power to them! As previously noted, there are, I am positive, many drivers on the road who are neither properly trained, insured or taxed. And some drivers are truly ATROCIOUS! GOVERNANCE is a necessity! Along with phoning and texting while driving, I spotted a texter yesterday concentrating, head down to the phone…. and driving,
idiot! Why don’t they just pull over instead of risking lives and injuries. I almost despair!
I had my licence suspended as a result of a medical condition for six months. Getting a new one was relatively easy, though because my collapse was in late December collecting all the medical reports took longer than at most other times of the year.
Many more “drivers” should have their licences taken away for life .the standard of driving today is shocking .Caught driving without a licence should mean prison no excuses accepted .Those banned from driving should go to prison for the length of the given ban Get tough with bad and un-licenced drivers
What is the point a drivers licence?
Very few accidents are caused by lack of ability to control the car – which is all the examiner can test.
Most are caused by recklessness, which includes alcohol, drugs etc. Th There is no way on earth an examiner can check for those.
Licences are just a waste of time and money.
A waste of your money perhaps but it’s easy money in the Government’s pocket and that is all they are interested in.
This has got to be the stupidest answer to anything. A licence is important and im talking full licence here because it proves that youre at least able to control a car under test conditions. Also saying very few accidents are caused by a lack of control is a totally stupid remark as control covers every situation you find yourself in, in any vehicle. Case in point – recklessness means you Dont have Control of the vehicle or the Ability to drive it properly!
Note I hold HGV 123 Car and bike licences and as an ex Firefighter emergency driving training too.
Be very careful about what you disclose as mistakes can happen. I had an ear infection which caused a single period of dizziness. As an HGV driver I informed DVLA. They allowed be back to work which I did for two weeks. I then got a letter from DVLA revoking both my car and truck licences for 12months and 3months respectively. Eventually after letters from my doctor and two months of not working I was sent a re-application form which I filled in and eventually my old licence /new licence with all my entitlements was sent to me. No apologies no explanation just no income !!
When CBT was introduced for motor bike riders I said then that anyone physically capable of riding on 2 wheels should have to take the necessary training and pass the test before being allowed to learn to drive a car. This would make the roads more rider friendly because they would be aware of the vulnerability of someone on 2 wheels. Also they would be far more aware of road conditions and drive accordingly. Whilst learning to drive they should also have to complete 2 hours instruction on a skid pan, prior to putting in for their test. New drivers would then be much better equipped when taking to the road solo. The graduated licence scheme would be the final stage to ensure new drivers are fully prepared for a lifetime of driving experiences.
Very well said and articulated as a motorcyclist and a car driver I totally agree with everything that you have proposed.
I have thought exactly the same for many years about m/cycle licences before car licences. Much better road awareness, discipline & courtesy from ex-motorcycle riders moving on to cars.
Had my Licence revoked when DVLA received my application following my usual LVG/PCV medical. Doctor entered wrong Epworth sleepless scale score on medical form.
DVLA acted immediately and revoked all my license groups. Simply, I experienced a nightmare in attempting to gain back my licence. The onus is on the applicants not DVLA to prove they are medically fit to drive.
Both my GP and Consultant couldn’t understand why DVLA should revoke my license as they both had declared I was fully medically fit to drive.
Following numerous attempts to satisfy DVLA with, letters from both GP and specialist Consultant and convincing them to amend the Epeorth Score, I eventually got my Group A, and B groups back. LGV/PSV proved to be a different story.
All the above resulted in me loosing my job, having to totally rely on others to transport me around. After having a full licence for over 45 yrs then loosing it due to a simple wrong number being entered was too much for me to handle. My whole life and health was effected and turned upside down. What made the whole process worse was DVLA totally refused to inform me or my medical team the reason and what was wrong with my initial application. It was only by chance I noticed the wrong Epworth score.
Lesson to be learned. Thoroughly check Medical application completed by your Dr. Keep a copy of all documents sent to DVLA. Take great care when answering medical questionnaires. A simple mistake or wrong value entered could cause a great deal of pain.
What on God’s green earth is an Epworth sleepless scale??
I am a 76 yr old guy and had to have an aortic valve replaced and a single coronary bypass both performed at the same time some four years ago. . I am a very careful driver and have always been except for one endorsement, speeding up a hill at 35 mph, some 19 yrs ago. I have had no problem whatsoever except for some slight delays on DVLA’s part with renewing my license on very minor technicalities. But I find that it is becoming a big hassle driving these days because of reckless, could not be bothered attitude and ’illiterate’ drivers who do even observe the Highway Codes. Learning how to drive n passing the tests are not good enough. The important fact is TO CARRY ON PUTTING INTO PRACTICE WHAT ONE LEARNT from the Instructor.and THE HIGHWAY CODES. Like as it’s known …IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO DRIVE AND NOT A RIGHT. THANK YOU.
Correction…..drivers who do not even observe…….
It could be made even stricter if the insurance co. asked for your driiver licence no. and check it systematically
Graduated licences are ok in theory, however limiting driving times is impractical and limits young drivers employment opportunities. The scheme should target all new drivers not just the young ones. I also agree with limiting engine power along the same lines as motorbikes.
This article is quite “sensationalist”. Yes, the DVLA website lists over 200 medical complaints BUT for the vast majority (including C-section) you only have to self declare if you consider that the issue affects your driving.
I’m still trying to figure out what the hell a C-section has to do with driving ability.
Like most parts of the body – you don’t realise how much you use it until you are without it or it is injured. You use your stomach muscles for braking and in both C-section and a hysterectomy, they are compromised and therefore you cannot drive for approx 6 weeks.
Correct. Also C-section scars are painful when seatbelt crosses them, so some women either do not use one or perhaps use a clip to slacken the strap from the shoulder. My wife was told not to drive for at least 6 weeks after hysterectomy, not just because of pain from the seat belt, but because of pain twisting to watch for traffic at T junctions and roundabouts.
That may be true if you drive a 1930s truck. I used to have a Citroen BX. Just thinking about braking would almost put you through the windscreen.
Shouldn’t we be blaming the driving instructors and examiners for the poor driving? This is how people get on the road. If a 17 year old wants a licence to drive to a job or school them is should be made compulsory they buy an electric car for then first 2 years of their driving. We need to educate the 17-25 years old drive to make them better drivers in the future.
They are taught well by the instructors and tested well by the examiners.
As soon as those worthies turn their backs, they do what the hell they like.
Try thinking of a solution for THAT problem.
I’m curious why you want them to buy an electric car. A Tesla will outrun a Ferrari.
How many tests will the self drive cars have to take?
Many years ago, motoring programmes on TV were based on the Highway Code. Panels of celebrities were presented with hypothetical situations; their answers were discussed & compared to the correct methods of driving in these situations. Perhaps programmes of this nature still have a place on TV & could possibly improve driving standards for some of us. But then again, maybe not.
Good point. Given the fact we seem to be in a celebrity-obsessed society it’s hard not to be confronted by some tedious ‘celebrity’ endorsing some cause or another on the TV, online or papers you’d think there’s mileage in your suggestion.
The more I read this website the happier I become that I spend most of my retirement in Africa, where nobody – least of all the police – gives a s**t what you do.
I much like the idea of newly qualified drivers being restricted to certain hours, and limited passenger numbers. The CBT motorcycle work could easily be introduced to new drivers, in addition the P plate should be mandatory for lat least 12 months following a pass.
To be fair, some of these technically should self-declare but there is no practical reason to do so. Caesarean section for example: my wife should have notified the DVLA, but as the doctors told her she shouldn’t drive for six weeks and then she would be ok, she simply didn’t drive and therefore did not notify the DVLA. The offence is not failing to declare, but driving with an undeclared condition so she did nothing wrong.
i think drivers need to prove that there has been an eye test at least every 5 years .
Now wouldn’t this article have been a little bit more helpful if it had a link to the list of conditions which might be relevant? The standard of articles on this site has really gone downhill, both in terms of grammar and “think before you open your mouth/start typing”
Still, at least we can be thankful it wasn’t the usual “we’re all cash cows and the government is out to get us just because we’re breaking the law” rubbish I suppose.
I’ve been waiting for the DVLA to make their decision for nearly a year now, ok i do have arthritis and a mesh implant, “hernia and praying that they’ll remove it”, which can make walking extremely painful, pain pills which don’t do nothing for me no longer, Doctors trying to kill me with gabapentin and other tablets,, but what can I do for being honest and telling them everything…. nothing… and we all know that there are drivers out there that just shouldn’t be on the road,, say no more there’s no point in it,, life suck’s enough as it is………
One of my old flying buddies (sadly no longer with us) gave me some excellent advice:
Never take your aches and pains to the same doctor as does your flying medicals.