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Medical Conditions and Your Driving Licence

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 19 May 2020 | comments*Discuss
Licence Medical Condition Ill Health

When you are in charge of a motor vehicle - you as an individual, are responsible for your health and safety as well as the safety of anyone you come into contact with whilst driving.

With this in mind you should be aware of your health and whether or not it may affect your ability to drive safely. If you are in any doubt as to your health and its overall effect on your driving then you should consult your doctor.

There are certain medical conditions which can affect your driving or put other road users at risk if unchecked and they include (among others):

  • Poor eyesight
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart Problems
  • Alcohol, drugs or substance abuse


Your eyesight is the most important tool you have when driving on any road. Not only do you need to have good eyesight to spot oncoming traffic and potential hazards but you need to be able to read road signs from a distance and also be able to differentiate between the colours on traffic lights.

You should have regular eye tests to ensure that your vision is at the required level to be in charge of a vehicle. This level is tested when you take your driving test. The current requirements are to be able to read a number plate from a distance of:

  • 20m for new-style number plate
  • 20.5m for old-style number plates


Depending on the type of diabetes and the treatment you receive, you may have to tell the DVLA about it:
  • If you have diabetes which you control by diet and you want to drive on a standard car licence, you will not usually need to tell the DLVA
  • If your diabetes is controlled by insulin injections you need to tell the DVLA. You can complete the medical form DIAB1to do this
  • If you have diabetes and are on tablets for it, then again you need to tell the DVLA


Many epileptics do drive but only after their doctor has given them the go ahead. If you suffer from epilepsy you should consult your doctor who will, in accordance with DVLA regulations determine your fitness to drive, perhaps under controlled medication.

Heart Problems

Problems such as angina, tachycardia or a narrowing of the arteries must all be declared and you must get clearance to drive from your doctor.

Losing a Limb

People can still drive after losing a limb; again it's something that the DVLA need to be aware of. If you are driving after losing a limb – or having lost the use of a limb – you may have to have your vehicle modified in which case you must inform your insurance company.

Surrendering Your Licence

If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions and have your doctor has told you that you should not drive - then you will need to Surrender your Licence to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).

Failing to surrender your licence in the knowledge that you suffer from a condition that makes it difficult for you to drive is an offence.

The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is legally entitled to consult your doctor about your health before issuing you with a licence – or if your licence has come up for renewal – and if it is found that you have not disclosed any information regarding your health which may have prevented the issue of a licence then your licence will be revoked.

You can download the required paperwork from the DVLA website should you wish to surrender your licence – or it can be picked up from any local DVLA office.

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I wish to hand in my driving licence as I have Epilepsy and only to drive on doctor advice
None - 19-May-20 @ 11:02 PM
I recently received successful treatment for BPPV with which I suffered for a couple of years but which had notaffectedmy driving capabilities.The nurse at the hospital where I received this treatment stated that she would report this to the DVLA because of my age(a little over 75). Should I be worried that my licence will be revoked or suspended by the DVLA? And until I have any news from the DVLA regarding this am I free to drive?
Gilly - 12-Nov-18 @ 11:29 AM
I have a question regarding whether I can legally own, tax and insure a vehicle without a valid licence. I am a 51 year old male with a terminal brain tumour who had to hand his licence in only regaining it after a period of 2 years (seizure free). Since redriving after about 18 months I suffered a chest infection that led to a partial seizure so had to hand my licence back, this time just for a year which was up about 3 months ago. I have been in touch with the DVLA asking for updates just to be told that the application is with their doctors and I have to wait for further information from them. This afternoon I was told by a member of the DVLA phone team that there was provision under section 88 of the RTA1988 that may allow me to drive whilst my application is being processed. This would be conditional on there being no problem from my medical team (which there isn't). So, my question is this, is it possible to own, tax and insure a vehicle without actually having a current licence.
Stu - 29-Mar-18 @ 5:19 PM
mags - Your Question:
My doctor said that I need to go to my optician to get a stanard eye test ,i do not wear glasses or need any, my last test was 3/4 yrs ago and my eye sight was very good then ,should this doctor be trained to do an eye test as my last doctor did 5 yrs ago thks mags

Our Response:
It's quite common for GPs to recommend an eye test at an optician's (they do after all, have all the relevant equipment and knowledge).
YourDrivingLicence - 18-Dec-15 @ 12:33 PM
my doctor said that i need to go to my optician to get a stanard eye test ,i do not wear glasses or need any, my last test was 3/4 yrs ago and my eye sight was very good then ,should thisdoctor be trained to do an eye test as my last doctor did 5 yrs ago thks mags
mags - 17-Dec-15 @ 10:42 AM
I have just been diagnosed with giant cell arteritis does this effect my hgv licence
art955 - 14-Aug-14 @ 8:57 PM
does having had a stroke disqualify someonefrom having a standard drivers license?
Jo - 10-May-14 @ 6:29 PM
Hi My brother has hd two fainting attacks following antibiotics for a chest infection 2 years apart Does he have to inform the DVLA? Thanks Muiel
Muiel - 28-Apr-13 @ 4:38 PM
I have just had my hgv licence revoked for poor eyesight in one eye, my eye sight in my poor eye is6/24 and in my better eye it is 6/4 I have had a binocular test and got 120 out of 120 ,I have had a lazy eye since I was 4 so I passed my hgv test with this condition and the dvla issued me my licence 17 years ago in 1996 so why after having my medical at 45 yrs old have they revoked it, any ideas or help please
Andy - 10-Sep-12 @ 9:11 PM
My car was stationary and an elderly driver had a stroke and damage my car, her insurance company refuse to pay out as it was an 'act of god'. I am bloody angry and all drivers over 70 must have a medical test every year. I am going to sue this person for every penny she got, as I am not going to be out of pocket ! I hope EC or our government will make this a legal requirement.
Stephen - 27-Dec-11 @ 9:34 PM
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