DVLA asks if ‘changes are needed’ to driving licences with elderly affected

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The DVLA is asking whether “changes are needed” to driving licence applications with elderly motorists expected to be most affected.

A new DVLA consultation has questioned whether it needed to address the growing number of drivers with multiple medical conditions.

Drivers are legally responsible for reporting medical issues to the DVLA with chiefs then considering whether a motorist can stay on the roads.

Data shows more than half of cases being dealt with by DVLA officials as of March 2023 involved multiple medical conditions.

Older road users are most affected with almost the same number amount of multiple medical conditions reported than single single illnesses among the 60-69 age range.

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Over half of conditions reported to the DVLA among the over 70s and 0ver 80s also involved at least two medical problems.

Chiefs warn that dealing with road users who have more than one illness adds a “level of complexity” to the investigation.

The report reads: “The myriad combinations of medical conditions (and medications to treat them) that are reported to DVLA, and their severity present a level of complexity that complicates the decision-making process when assessing driving fitness.

“Assessing multiple medical conditions is time-consuming as medical information is often needed from several doctors or healthcare professionals involved in a person’s ongoing care and treatment.

“Currently, driver licensing law and medical guidelines are focused on medical standards being applied to each diagnosed condition.

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“However, considering the combined effect of multiple medical conditions that affect safe driving is a challenge and will usually need clinical judgement.

“Where multiple medical conditions are assessed, DVLA must take a holistic approach and consider all the medical evidence gathered to make an informed decision about whether a driving licence can be issued.”

According to The National Institute for Health and Care Research, more than one in four of the adult population lives with two or more medical conditions.

The consultation has not established any formal rule changes and is only asking for evidence to discuss the issue.

The call for evidence was launched on July 31 with drivers able to submit any comments until October 22.

Details can be submitted through the DVLA’s Snap Survey tool or posted to their headquarters in Swansea.

Richard Holden, Minister for Roads and Local Transport explained: “As the volume and complexity of driving licence applications or renewals where the applicant has one or more medical condition increases, the government believes that the time is right to review the existing legal framework.”

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