Drivers: Declare a medical condition to the DVLA


General Finance

There’s no limit on the age when you can drive but if you become too ill or a medical condition affects your ability to drive, you might have to give it up temporarily. Once you get back to full fitness or meet the DVLA medical standards, you can get behind the wheel again.

But how do you know if a medical condition is affecting your driving ability? Let’s find out.

Are you safe to drive?

A recent study claims that over 3 million UK drivers with a medical condition don’t tell the DVLA. This can be a serious offence leading to prosecution, with a fine of up to £1,000. That’s why if you have a condition you know about, you should declare it to the DVLA. It’s sometimes tough knowing if your condition affects your driving but it’s important to be honest with yourself.

If you’re worried, speak to your doctor and ask them what impact your health has on your ability to drive. You can contact the DVLA too and find out which conditions are listed. Surprisingly, more common issues such as heart conditions and diabetes are some of those that drivers are failing to disclose. In fact, some of those in the research knew about their condition yet failed to notify the DVLA in fear of losing their licence.

What do I declare?

The Government website has a list of all the health conditions that you need to declare. If you do so, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose your licence or that you’ll be asked to stop driving, but be sure to find out. If your doctor tells you to stop driving for three months or more, follow the instructions and tell the DVLA.

Here are the most common conditions suffered by drivers in England and Wales.


Percentage of drivers

Heart conditions


Stroke or mini stroke




Physical disability


Brain condition or severe head injury


Visual impairment




What’s next?

Don’t worry that just because you’ve got a medical condition, you’ll be automatically banned from driving. The DVLA won’t stop you from driving unless they need to. Many people with disabilities or medical conditions drive, but the DVLA might need more information from you to make their decision. They’ll contact your GP with permission or ask another local doctor to assess you. You might also need to take a driving or eyesight test.

Ultimately, if your condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive, you can continue. But you may need help or adaptations to your vehicle as a requirement. The DVLA could choose to give you a short-term licence for one, two or three years and review your situation in the future.

They can also give you a licence that asks you to fit special controls that help accommodate your disability as a driver. And it’s possible they could ask you to stop driving.

Inform your insurers

If you declare your condition to the DVLA, let your insurer know too as it can mean your policy isn’t valid anymore. The same is true if you need glasses to drive.

When you renew, you might see the premium going up or you might need to look for a new or specialist provider.

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