What is a Medical Driving Licence?

What is a Medical Driving Licence?

Medical driving licence

For many, getting a driving licence isn’t quite as easy as it is for others, due to one or more medical conditions.

Needing a medical driving licence means that you are required to jump through a few hoops in order to obtain the means to drive legally on the road.

In the UK, it is the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) who is responsible for helping all drivers with their licence, but the agency requires quite a bit more from you if you need to apply for a licence on medical grounds.

How do I know if I need a medical driving licence?

There is an array of conditions that would constitute the need for a medical driving licence, and these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Conditions
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Epilepsy
  • Strokes
  • Glaucoma

However, it might already have gotten to the point where your doctor has told you to stop driving for a certain time frame – if this length of time is three months or more, then you will need to surrender your licence.

This is also true for those who have a medical condition that will affect their ability to drive for three or more months, or for a person who just doesn’t meet the medical standards to hold a driving licence.

In any such situation, you will need to apply for your licence again once you are medically-cleared to do so.

Stipulations can differ between health conditions – in the example of someone with diabetes, an individual cannot drive if they have had more than one severe hypo in the last 12 months whilst awake (when blood sugar levels become dangerously low and can result in a fit).

It is important that you disclose to the DVLA if you do have more than one such incident, which will result in your licence being revoked and can be applied for again in three months’ time at the earliest.

Applying for a medical driving licence

There are several steps in applying for your medical driving licence, though the exact process will depend on your condition, as there are different forms for different conditions.

However, the general process starts with you disclosing any conditions to the DVLA, who will then decide on the next course of action – this can result in your doctor becoming involved, an appointment for you to be examined is made, or you are asked to take a driving assessment.

Following the results of any of the above, the DVLA will then make a decision on what can happen next. 

While it might be that you are able to apply for a new driving licence, the DVLA might also decide that, while you’re allowed a new licence, it will need to be a short-term medical driving licence that will last 1, 2, 3, or 5 years.

Other possible courses of action include having your car adapted to help you drive with your condition, or you may be as unfortunate to not be allowed a driving licence at all, at least for the time being.

Renewing your short-term medical driving licence

If you’ve been able to drive on a short-term medical driving licence, then this will need to be renewed when it ends after 1, 2, 3, or 5 years’ time.

The DVLA will send you a renewal letter 90 days before your short-term medical driving licence is due to expire with details on how to reapply.

However, if you are wanting to reapply for your driving licence after being told to stop driving, then you will need to be cleared to so following the advice of a doctor.

You will have been told by the DVLA how long you’ll have to wait before reapplying at the point your licence was revoked.

What happens if I don’t disclose my health condition?

If you have a health condition that can affect your driving, and it is not disclosed to the DVLA, this is deemed an illegal act, and there can be various consequences.

In this situation, you can be fined, have points placed on your licence, or even face criminal prosecution.

There will also be issues regarding your vehicle’s insurance in this instance.