If you have a condition that is likely to cause a sudden disabling event at the wheel or you can't control your car safely for any other reason, you mustn’t drive.
And if you have a licence and develop a ‘notifiable medical condition’ or disability, you must inform the DVLA.
Medical standards are continually reviewed, and the most up-to-date information will always be online on the government’s website.
Some of the DVLA’s notifiable medical conditions include:
Diabetes or taking insulin
Syncope (and other fainting conditions)
Heart conditions (including atrial fibrillation and pacemakers)
Brain injuries or conditions
You must also tell the DVLA if you have a diagnosis of any of the following:
Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis and you’ll be assessed on how well your condition is managed by medication.
Conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder don't need to be reported unless you're experiencing significant memory or concentration problems, agitation, behavioural disturbance or suicidal thoughts.
On the government website is a list of medical conditions and corresponding forms that need to be completed and returned. You can find the right one by searching for your condition on the government’s website. The DVLA usually decides within six weeks, but they will also inform you if the decision is going to take longer.
In some cases, you will be asked to take a driving test or have a medical examination. You can usually keep driving while your application is being assessed. One of four things will then happen:
You will get a new driving licence
You will be issued with a shorter licence for one, two, three or five years
You will need to make car adaptations and fit special controls
You must stop driving and give up your licence
All decisions can be appealed within six months by contacting the local magistrate’s court. In Scotland this is reduced to 21 days and done through the local sheriff’s court.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t report medical conditions that make you unfit to drive.
If you're involved in an accident your car insurance will be invalidated and only the minimum third-party cover will apply. You could also be prosecuted.
You may need to let the DVLA know if you start taking medication, especially if it’s a long-term course. Certain medications do impair drivers’ ability to operate vehicles safely, so it’s worth checking with your doctor if you’re prescribed any of the following:
Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, like codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
If you’re prescribed a short course of medication, you probably won’t need to let the DVLA know, unless you’ve been prescribed it because you have a condition that the DVLA needs to know about.
Medical conditions can lead to increased insurance premiums or a larger excess on the policy if an insurer believes you are at higher risk of causing an accident. The Equalities Act 2010, however, means that the insurance company must provide evidence of the additional cost to them.
If you don’t tell your insurance provider about a medical condition you have that could impair your driving, and then you have an accident, any claim you make could be invalidated.