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22 Feb 2021
Jamie Gibbs Jamie Gibbs

Medical conditions and driving


Optician conducting an eye test on a patient

What medical conditions does the DVLA need to be made aware of?

If you've any condition that may affect your ability to drive safely, you should tell the DVLA.

If you don’t, you could be fined up to £1,000. You may also be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

If you make a claim on your car insurance after being in an accident, and it turns out you have an undisclosed medical condition, this can potentially invalidate your claim.


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The DVLA and medical conditions

Some of the more common conditions that people frequently ask about with regards to driving include:

Let’s take a look at each in turn.


Epilepsy and driving

Due to the nature of the condition, epilepsy has the ability to affect driving safety quite significantly.

If you've had an epileptic seizure and you've lost consciousness, the DVLA will take your licence away. You can reapply to get it back after six months, provided you've not had any seizures for that time.

The type of seizure is also important, for example if you only get them at night.

Medical advisors will act on the information you and your doctors send them about your epilepsy. For more information visit GOV.UK.


Driving after a stroke 

When it comes to strokes and driving, you only need to tell the DVLA if you’re still having problems one month afterwards.

If you’re not sure whether you’re fit to drive, then you can ask your doctor. Visit GOV.UK for more info.


Diabetes and driving

Whether you need to tell the DVLA about your diabetes largely depends on what type of medication you’re on.

If your condition is treated by tablets or non-insulin injections, check with your doctor to find out whether you need to tell the DVLA.

If your diabetes is treated with insulin for more than three months, then you must inform the DVLA.

For more information, including how to report diabetes, you should visit the GOV.UK's diabetes and driving page.


Mental health conditions

Mental health problems are common throughout the general population. Of course, many of those who suffer see no ill effects on their ability to drive whatsoever.

It’s estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, according to mental health charity Mind.

When it comes to notifying the DVLA, mental health issues are usually judged on periods of stability and the driver’s particular condition.

For example, if you have anxiety or depression you only need to tell the DVLA if they affect your ability to drive safely.

You should ask your doctor if you’re not sure if your anxiety or depression will affect your driving.

There are other mental health conditions where you need to tell the DVLA. These include bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia.


Driving eyesight rules

There’s a minimum standard of vision that every driver must meet.

You must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres, a test that should be familiar from your driving test.
For the purposes of driving this can be completed with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary.

And you must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the required standard of vision for driving.


Can I drive with one eye?

You can still drive if you only have vision in one eye, as long as you can meet the required standard of vision for driving in that eye.

You should ask your doctor or an eye specialist if you’re not sure.


How to report a medical condition to the DVLA

If you want to report a condition to the DVLA, you can do it online or by post. The online process has a comprehensive list of conditions.


What happens once I’ve reported a medical condition to the DVLA?

Once you’ve reported your condition to the DVLA, what happens next depends on the condition.

Generally, the DVLA will state what restrictions, if any, it will impose on your licence.

For example, it could impose a one, two or three-year restriction.

This relates to how often you’ll have to get re-examined for the condition to see if you're fit to drive.


Other health conditions and driving

This guide has only covered some of the medical conditions that can affect your ability to drive safety.

For a full list, check out the government guide on health conditions and driving.

And if you’re not sure whether a condition will affect your driving then you should always seek professional medical advice.


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