Medical conditions and driving

(Level 5)
23 Jun 2017 10:31, updated
16 Apr 2010, published

When you decide to start taking driving lessons, you will need to apply for a provisional licence that will allow you to take driving lessons before qualifying for a full UK driving licence. When you complete the form you will find a section where you will need to provide information about your health and any disabilities you may have.

Having a pre-existing medical condition doesn’t always mean you will never be able to drive but there may be other ways to help. For example if you don’t have a limb, you may be able to have a car especially adapted to help you drive safely and still comply with all the driving regulations. Some people later develop medical conditions that will later affect their driving ability. You need to keep the DVLA updated at all times when it comes to your health. If you are caught out by not stating a pre-existing medical condition or change in circumstances, then your licence will be revoked and you may still be fined for driving without a proper licence.

Medical conditions that make driving harder
Epilepsy is an illness that may prevent the majority of sufferers from ever driving; some people living with epilepsy can live normal healthy lives without having many seizures whilst others may have seizures often. This is when having a licence will not only endanger your life but other drivers can be affected too. If you have a mild form of epilepsy and have proof from a doctor, then you may be lucky enough to have your application approved.

People that have heart conditions may also be refused a licence on medical grounds although the likelihood of having a heart attack at the wheel is very rare. There are other conditions that may be brought on by having heart problems though. If you have a heart condition, then you are also at a higher risk of having a stroke, stress can aggravate a condition and prove fatal if behind the wheel of a car.

The DVLA do have a guide on illnesses and how they do risk assessments to ensure they review each application fairly. If you do have a pre-existing medical condition that the DVLA knows about, you must remember that from time to time they will contact your GP to check that your health does not pose a threat to driving. If you lie and do not tell them that your health is worse, then you will be caught and fined.

As long as you’re honest and have regular health checkups, then in most cases you will still be able to drive for many more years to come.