A Medical Condition for Driving

Our research revealed that most people fail to disclose a medical condition because they believe it has no effect on their driving.

However, some medical conditions do affect your ability to drive safely. DVLA (DVA in Northern Ireland) will assess your medical condition or disability to determine whether you can continue to drive.

You can see whether your medical condition is notifiable by looking at the full list of health conditions on the government website. Click on one of the conditions listed and you’ll be directed to the right form to complete and return.

Once you’ve disclosed your medical condition and sent off the form to DVLA, they’ll usually make a decision and respond within six weeks.

DVLA might contact your doctor, arrange a medical examination or ask you to take a driving test.

Whether you can carry on driving depends on if you surrendered your licence voluntarily or if your doctor revoked your licence for medical reasons.

If you surrendered your licence voluntarily, but your doctor has deemed you fit to be behind the wheel, then you should be fine to drive. Check the government website for more information on when you can start driving again.

We tested five different drives in the Transport Research Laboratory’s advanced driving simulator, the Digicar. Each scenario had a different level of vision for the participant, and once the vision dropped below the legal requirement, the driver’s performance also dropped considerably.

Poor eyesight makes it harder to stay in the right lane, maintain the correct speed and leave a safe distance to the car in front. Not only that, but it also takes longer to react to unexpected hazards.

At the beginning of your practical exam you have a quick eye test; to read a number plate from 20 metres away. If you can’t read the number plate it’s an instant fail, and DVLA will require you to have an eye test with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

If you don’t meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving without glasses or contacts, then it’s illegal to get behind the wheel of a car without them.

They’ll see if you need a new driving licence, whether you need a shorter licence (that will be reviewed in one, two, three or five years), if you need to adapt your car, or if you have to stop driving.

DVLA won’t take your licence away without giving you a medical reason. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take it forever, and they’ll let you know when you can reapply for your licence. There’s also potential to appeal against the decision.

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