Jump to:

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 (updated May 2013).

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 www.gmc-uk.org.

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
CONDITIONGUIDANCENOTIFY DVLA?
ALCOHOL/DRUG-RELATED CONDITIONS
Alcohol/drug misuse or dependency Licence withheld until patient has been free of problems for:
– ≥6 months (persistent alcohol misuse; misuse of cannabis, amphetamines other than metamphetamine, ecstasy, psychoactive drugs) or
– ≥1 year (alcohol dependency; misuse of heroin, morphine, methadone, cocaine, metamphetamine, benzodiazepines)
Yes
CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS
Acute coronary syndromes Cease driving after coronary angioplasty for ≥1 week if procedure successful or ≥4 weeks if unsuccessful.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) Cease driving for ≥1 week.
No
DIABETES
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
NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS
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.
Yes
PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS
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.
Yes
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.
Yes
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).
Yes
VISUAL DISORDERS
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: medadviser@dvla.gsi.gov.uk.

The full guideline is available at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/medical/ataglance.aspx

MIMS Specialist Journals

Now available on www.mims.co.uk

Click here to view

7-Part CME IBS Programme

Irritable bowel syndrome medical education programme worth 6.5 CPD credits. Click here to view

MIMS app

Access the full MIMS database from your mobile device

Click here to find out more

MIMs Drug Search

Possible searches include drugs (by brand, generic ingredient or drug class), diseases and more.

Find drugs by:

Travel Vaccination & Malaria Advice

Travel Vaccination & Malaria Advice

Supplied by the National
Travel Health Network
and Centre (NaTHNaC)

Palliative Care Resources

Palliative Care Resources

Opioid dose conversions
and much more

Childhood Immunisation

Childhood Immunisation

Summary of routine
vaccination schedule

Referral Guidelines for Breast Disorders

Referral Guidelines for Breast Disorders

MIMS Summary of NHS Cancer Screening Referral Guidelines

Quick-reference table: antibiotics

Quick-reference table: antibiotics

Treatment regimens for common infections

Back to top