Current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive

Summary of DVLA guidance on fitness to drive. Adapted from 'For Medical Practitioners. At a glance Guide to the current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive'. Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea (updated May 2014).

The licence holder or applicant must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of any medical condition that could affect their ability to drive safely.

If asked for an opinion about a patient's fitness to drive, the doctor should consult DVLA guidance to determine whether the patient should inform DVLA of their condition, what the DVLA's decision is likely to be, and whether the patient should continue to drive in the meantime. The advice given should be documented.

Driving must cease if adversely affected by any drug being taken.

If the licence holder cannot or will not advise DVLA of their condition, the doctor should consult GMC guidelines at

The table below summarises DVLA recommendations for conditions commonly encountered in primary care, as relevant to holders of a Group 1 licence (i.e. for motor cars and motorcycles).

Current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive
Alcohol/drug misuse or dependency Licence withheld until patient has been free of problems for:
– ≥6 months (persistent alcohol misuse; misuse of cannabis, amfetamines other than metamfetamine, ecstasy, psychoactive drugs) or
– ≥1 year (alcohol dependency; misuse of heroin, morphine, methadone, cocaine, metamfetamine, benzodiazepines)
Acute coronary syndromes Cease driving after coronary angioplasty for ≥1 week if procedure successful or ≥4 weeks if unsuccessful.
Angina Cease driving if symptoms occur at rest, with emotion or at the wheel. No
Arrhythmia Cease driving if the arrhythmia has caused or is likely to cause incapacity.
Can resume driving when underlying cause has been controlled for ≥4 weeks. Cease driving for ≥2 days after successful catheter ablation.
No, unless symptoms are distracting or disabling
CABG Cease driving for ≥4 weeks.
Heart failure Can continue driving unless symptoms are distracting. No
Heart valve surgery Cease driving for ≥4 weeks. No
Hypertension Can continue driving. No
Stroke, TIA Cease driving for ≥1 month.
No, unless neurological deficit persists 1 month after episode
Pacemaker implant Cease driving for ≥1 week.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) Cease driving for ≥1 week.
Diabetes mellitus Can continue driving unless >1 episode of hypoglycaemia in preceding 12 months requiring assistance of another person, or impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia. Can resume driving when control/awareness achieved.
Drivers who use insulin should check their blood glucose no more than 2 hours before the start of a journey and every 2 hours whilst driving; if the reading is 4mmol/L or less, they should stop driving and not resume until 45 minutes after level has returned to normal.
No, unless insulin needed for >3 months, visual/circulatory complications develop, >1 episode of disabling hypoglycaemia within preceding 12 months or at high risk of developing disabling hypoglycaemia
Chronic conditions e.g. Parkinson's disease, MS Can be licensed if medical assessment confirms that driving performance is not impaired. Yes
Epilepsy Epileptic attack whilst awake: cease driving for ≥1 year (6 months if first attack/solitary fit, specialist assessment completed and no abnormality identified).
Epileptic attack whilst asleep: cease driving for ≥1 year (can be licensed if original attack occurred >3 years previously and no awake attacks have occurred since).
When treatment is being withdrawn, patient should generally cease driving until 6 months after treatment cessation.
Dementia If patient has poor short-term memory, disorientation, lack of insight and judgement, he/she is unlikely to be fit to drive. Yes
Mania or hypomania Cease driving during acute illness. Following an insolated episode, patient can be licensed when he/she has remained stable for ≥3 months (6 months if ≥4 episodes of mood swing during previous year), if necessary criteria met.
Psychotic disorders (acute) Cease driving during acute illness. Patient can be licensed if he/she has remained well and stable for ≥3 months, if necessary criteria met.
Psychotic disorders (chronic) Cease driving unless patient has had stable behaviour for ≥3 months, adequate treatment adherence and no adverse effects of medication (subject to favourable specialist report).
Visual impairment Cease driving if cannot read in good light (with visual aids if worn) a vehicle number plate from 20m distance, or if visual acuity <6/12. Yes

For further advice, contact: The Medical Adviser, Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Longview Road, Morriston, Swansea, SA99 1TU. Tel: 01792 782337. Email:

The full guideline is available at

MIMS Clinics

Prescribing news and resources for key therapeutic areas, collated by the MIMS editors.

Register or Subscribe to MIMS

GPs can get MIMS print & online and GPonline for free when they register online – take 2 minutes, and make sure you get your free MIMS access! If you're not a GP, you can subscribe to MIMS for full access.

Register or subscribe

MIMS bulletins

News and updates straight to your inbox.

Prescribing Update: Fortnightly news bulletin
Spotlight: Disease-themed monthly round-up

Sign me up

MIMS Dermatology

Read the latest issue online exclusively on MIMS.

Read MIMS Dermatology

Mobile apps

MIMS: access the full drug database and quick-reference tables on the go

MIMS Diagnosis and Management: concise information on signs and symptoms, investigations and diseases

Promo Image

Clinical calculators

Handy calculators and conversions for primary care.