Many drivers are unaware that if they develop a health condition that could affect their driving, they need to declare it to the DVLA and their insurance provider.
Drivers over 70 are generally familiar with the regulations, because they must reapply for a licence every 3 years and declare any health conditions each time. Younger drivers with conditions such as diabetes, angina and hypertension may be unaware of the rules.
Don’t wait until your driving licence expires to declare your condition
If you've developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA, even if you're not yet due to renew your licence. This also applies if your condition has worsened since your licence was issued.
Having a medical condition or disability doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be forced to stop driving.
Which medical conditions must be declared?
The DVLA has published a long list of health conditions that all drivers must either declare to the DVLA
or discuss first with their GP and disclose if he/she advises that the condition or treatment could affect driving.
Drivers who don’t declare their health condition risk a £1,000 penalty, driving ban, and their insurance being invalidated.
Conditions listed by the DVLA (to be discussed with your GP if in doubt) include:
• absence seizures
• Alzheimer’s disease, dementia
• angina, hypertension
• cataracts, glaucoma
• caesarean section, hysterectomy
• eating disorders, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder
• kidney dialysis
• sleep apnoea
The full list of conditions to be declared can be viewed on the Government website.
What happens after you’ve declared a health condition?
The DVLA may:
• ask you to take a driving assessment, eyesight test or driving appraisal.
• contact your GP or consultant (with your permission) or arrange for a local doctor or specialist to examine you.
• make a decision based on the information you provided.
Having a medical condition doesn’t always mean that you will lose your licence.
You should be able to continue driving if your condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely. Or you may need to adjust or make adaptations to your car.
Sometimes the DVLA will issue a shorter licence of 1 or 2 years and review the situation in the future.
The DVLA can also issue a licence that states you need to fit special controls to your vehicle to help you to drive with your disability.
However, the DVLA can also revoke your licence if it decides that you’re not fit to drive based on the condition or your driving assessment.
Declaring a health condition to your insurer
If you have a condition which you need to declare to the DVLA, you also need to declare this to your insurer. You may find that your premiums rise, or that you need to find a specialist provider. However, if you don’t declare your condition, it could invalidate your policy, which could be a costly mistake in the event of an accident.
How do I get my driving ability reassessed?
If you’ve developed a medical condition you may need to have your driving ability assessed. Or, if you or your family have concerns about your driving, you may decide that you could benefit from a voluntary driving assessment.
IAMRoadSmart, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and many local councils offer driver assessment schemes.
How much does an assessment cost?
A Mature Driver Review with registered charity IAMRoadSmart costs £49.
Over 70s: it’s free to renew your licence
RoSPA has warned that some websites are advertising a non-refundable fee for a renewal application and checking service. However, you can renew your driving licence online with DVLA for free if you’re 70 or over – or will be 70 in the next 90 days.
*If you have a paper licence, you will need to provide an up-to-date passport photo with your renewal application.
Delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic
The Government has issued updated guidance on who can drive while waiting for a licence renewal. The guidance states that you can drive while waiting for the licence if:
• Your GP has confirmed that your condition does not affect your driving.
• Your last licence was not revoked or refused for medical reasons.
• You are not currently disqualified from driving by a court.
For more details of when you can drive while waiting for a licence visit the Government website.