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Number of driving licences revoked on medical grounds up 50 per cent

Published 27 September 2019

The number of driving licences revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds reached a five year peak last year with more than 73,000 drivers having their licences withdrawn - a 50 per cent increase compared to 2014.

Research by car selling site Motorway.co.uk, which analysed DVLA data, found that alcohol was the main reason for a licence to be revoked along with a driver being affected by seizures or blackouts.

So far in 2019, 36,310 car or motorcycle licences (Group 1) and 6157 lorry or bus licences (Group 2) have been medically revoked.  

Of these, almost two-thirds (65%) of drivers were 50 years old or over. More than 800 teenage drivers (829) have had their licences medically revoked. 

Meanwhile, more than 2800 motorcycle or car drivers have had their licences revoked in the past 18 months for sleep related conditions, including narcolepsy.  

More worryingly, the DVLA figures show that close to 1000 bus or lorry drivers have had their licences revoked over the same period because of blackouts or a sleep condition. 

If a driver has their driving licence revoked on medical grounds, they can reapply for their licence once their doctor states they meet the medical standards for driving. 

The rules are different if a driver voluntarily surrenders their licence. Under these circumstances, they can drive while a licence is being renewed. That is if the driver has the support of a doctor, a valid licence, is not disqualified and their last licence wasn’t revoked.

"These figures make for quite frightening reading, but they could be just the tip of the iceberg. How many people are driving with a medical condition and haven’t informed the authorities?," comments Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk.

"You can be fined up to £1000 if you don’t tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving, but is that really a strong enough deterrent?"

In 2014, 48,941 licences were revoked, but this has increased by 50 per cent over four years to a peak of 73,724 in 2018. So far this year. 42,576 licences have been revoked for the following:

Medical Condition Number of licences revoked % of all licences revoked
Alcohol 5450 15%
Seizures 5417 14.9%
Eyesight 4534 12.5%
Memory problems 4175 11.5%
Mental health 3268 9%
Neurological 3041 8.4%
Cardiac 2228 6.1%
Drugs  1770 4.9%
Blackouts 1742 4.8%
Diabetes 1176 3.2%

Comments

Martin Freye    on 30 September 2019

Diagnosed with vascular dementia so I have informed the DVLA and await their response so I hope to be able to continue driving, I am driving now as the advice from DVLA is that I should continue driving until I Hear from them

John Waterston    on 30 September 2019

A five yearly compulsory driving test would provide a better safety dividend than getting GP's to welch on their patients. They are not qualified to assess accurately driver capability, it deters people with health conditions disclosing them because it can be their livelihood, so conditions are undiagnosed or allowed to degenerate to the point where they are actively dangerous. Education and prevention are better than sanction.

Vivien Barber    on 30 September 2019

Logistics problems would prevent a five-year compulsory retes - there would not be enough examiners!

John Waterston    on 30 September 2019

A five yearly compulsory driving test would provide a better safety dividend than getting GP's to welch on their patients. They are not qualified to assess accurately driver capability, it deters people with health conditions disclosing them because it can be their livelihood, so conditions are undiagnosed or allowed to degenerate to the point where they are actively dangerous. Education and prevention are better than sanction.

John Waterston    on 30 September 2019

A five yearly compulsory driving test would provide a better safety dividend than getting GP's to welch on their patients. They are not qualified to assess accurately driver capability, it deters people with health conditions disclosing them because it can be their livelihood, so conditions are undiagnosed or allowed to degenerate to the point where they are actively dangerous. Education and prevention are better than sanction.

aethelwulf    on 30 September 2019

The DVLA are quick to snatch your licence but slow to give it back. I was suspended for six months due to a fall and banged my head. I was taken to hospital for observation but no treatment. However, after six months , with no illness whatsoever, I reapplied . but the medical systems of consultant surgeon and the local GP , who had nothing to do with the case, managed to drag the process out months.No wonder drivers keep it quiet. I volunteered the information as the consultant told me but they would not have informed the DVLA. I was never unconscious at all. It was a fall not a major accident.

J. Mike Rose    on 1 October 2019

All you need for older drivers is an eyesight and re-action test

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