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Medical circumstances most definitely to value drivers their licence

  • Some 646,972 driving licences rescinded for medical reasons since 2014
  • Ten most common illness and conditions that stop people driving revealed

Almost 650,000 motorists have had driving licences taken away on medical grounds in the last decade, This is Money can exclusively reveal.

Some 551,841 car drivers and motorcyclists have had their licences revoked since 2014, while an additional 95,131 lorry and bus drivers have been removed from the road in the same period.

And we can reveal the ten most common conditions that have led to drivers having their licences rescinded as the DVLA deems them no longer fit to be behind the wheel. 

*Scroll to the bottom of the page to see which 189 different conditions drivers should notify the DVLA they suffer from. 

Almost 650,000 motorists have had their driving licences revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds since 2014. We reveal the conditions that have taken the most people off the road in the last decade

Almost 650,000 motorists have had their driving licences revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds since 2014. We reveal the conditions that have taken the most people off the road in the last decade

The exclusive data has been shared following a Freedom of Information request made to the DVLA by car leasing comparison site LeaseLoco.

Driving licences medically revoked by the DVLA by year 

2014: 48,941

2015: 55,753

2016: 72,019

2017: 70,376

2018: 73,724

2019: 73,022

2020: 53,797

2021: 42,500

2022: 65,692

2023: 68,088

2024 (to 30th April 2024): 23,060

Source: DVLA data acquired via FOI request by LeaseLoco

It shows that 646,972 licences have been stripped in total since the beginning of 2014 as the agency cracked down on drivers it deemed no longer in a fit condition to be on the road.

The figures show that the volume of revoked licences peaked in the pre-pandemic years of 2018 and 2019, with 73,724 and 73,022 motorists being stripped of their certification in those respective year.

And while numbers of cancelled licences tumbled during the pandemic (down to 42,500 in 2021), they’re back on the rise again.

Last year, there were 68,088 cases of licences being terminated by the DVLA, its own data shows. 

And already in 2024 (up to 30 April) 23,060 UK drivers have lost their right to get behind the wheel due to medical conditions.

Almost nine in ten (88 per cent) of this year’s count are ‘Group 1’ licence holders, which covers car drivers or motorcycle riders – 20,255 in total.

The remaining 12 per cent are ‘Group 2’ licence holders, which consists of lorry or bus drivers (2,805).

Alcohol dependency is the most common condition that has cost drivers their licences since the beginning of last year, the DVLA's record show

Alcohol dependency is the most common condition that has cost drivers their licences since the beginning of last year, the DVLA’s record show

Alcohol dependency the most common condition leading to a loss of driving licence

Alcohol dependency is the most common reason for drivers to lose their licence since last year, according to the DVLA’s records.

It shows that 7,704 motorists had their driving licence revoked on these grounds between 1 January 2023 and 30 April 2024. 

The second most frequent cause of drivers having to give up their licences is epilepsy (5,894), followed by dementia (4,900), seizures (2,888) and undiagnosed blackouts (1,824).

Also among the top ten illnesses and conditions that trigger motorists to be taken off the road by the DVLA are heart conditions (1,577), diabetes (1,500), drug misuse (1,299), visual field defect with eyesight (1,244) and Parkinson’s disease (1,234). 

John Wilmot, CEO at LeaseLoco, says the 650,000 motorists taken off the road since 2014 is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ as many people are still driving with medical conditions they have yet to report to the DVLA.

‘You can be fined up to £1,000 for not informing the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving, but is that really a strong enough deterrent?,’ John asks.

‘With so many of us relying on our cars for work and leisure, some drivers may think it’s worth the risk to stay silent. 

‘For them, surrendering their licence could mean losing their mobility, their job, and the ability to visit family and friends.’

If a driver has their licence revoked on medical grounds, they can reapply for their licence once their doctor says they meet the medical standards for driving.

However,  rules are different if a driver voluntarily surrenders their licence.

Under these circumstances, you can drive while your licence is being renewed if you have the support of your doctor, a valid licence, you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence, you’re not disqualified, your last licence wasn’t revoked and your application is less than 12 months old.

There are 189 medical conditions in total that the DVLA says you should be declared as it can affect your driving

There are 189 medical conditions in total that the DVLA says you should be declared as it can affect your driving

The medical conditions you should declare

There are a some obvious medical conditions motorists need to declare to the relevant authorities before getting behind the wheel – but there are some that you might not consider reporting at all.

Drivers legally need to notify the DVLA if they’ve suffered from strokes, heart attacks and loss of sight before being deemed fit to take control of a car on British roads.

Many conditions also affect people without any visual signs of illness.

This includes anxiety, bipolar disorder, paranoia and depression. 

However, there are five conditions in particular that many people don’t know they need to tell the DVLA about before hitting the road. 

1. Déjà vu

Most people will regard déjà vu as a common experience in healthy individuals, but it is also associated with certain types of epilepsy.

Experiences of déjà vu can be a neurological anomaly related to epileptic electrical discharge in the brain. It is this medically induced déjà vu you need to inform the DVLA about. 

‘Ordinary’ cases of déjà vu is not notifiable.

Labyrinthitis can cause sever headaches and vertigo, both of which can impact on your ability to drive

Labyrinthitis can cause sever headaches and vertigo, both of which can impact on your ability to drive

2. Labyrinthitis 

While it’s difficult to say, this is a condition linked to an inner ear infection that causes a delicate part deep inside your ear (the labyrinth) to become inflamed. 

Symptoms, such as headaches, pain and hearing loss, can vary in severity but tend to pass after a few weeks. However, in some cases the symptoms – which also include vertigo – can last longer and have a significant impact on your ability to carry out everyday tasks, so you need to let the DVLA know.

3. Sleep Apnoea 

This is a relatively common condition that’s caused by the walls of the throat relaxing and narrowing during sleep, interrupting normal breathing and sleep periods. 

In extreme cases it can lead to sleep deprivation, which can cause sufferers to fall asleep at the wheel. 

It’s in these severe cases that you should get in contact with your GP or consultant for further advice and consider informing the DVLA.

What the DVLA says: Sleep Apnoea per se is not notifiable, but any excessive sleepiness as a consequence of the condition is, as are all other conditions where excessive sleepiness is a feature.

It’s important to emphasise that nobody should drive if they are sleep deprived for any reason, not just this condition. All conditions where excessive sleepiness is experienced are notifiable – not just Sleep Apnoea.

4. Eating disorders 

Severe cases of eating disorders can cause side effects such as being weak and feeling dizzy. 

You must tell the DVLA if you suffer from any disorder, such as anorexia, as it can affect your ability to drive safely.

Some 10 million people in the UK suffer from arthritis. It is one condition motorists need to tell the DVLA about

Some 10 million people in the UK suffer from arthritis. It is one condition motorists need to tell the DVLA about

5. Arthritis 

Another condition that affects around 10 million people in the UK is arthritis, and it’s one you need to tell the DVLA about.

It can affect people of all ages, including children, and commonly causes painful discomfort at joints in the hands, spine, knees and hips, all of which can impact on how well someone can drive.

If your arthritis affects your driving and has lasted more than three months it should be declared. 

What the DVLA says: You only need to notify us if it arthritis affects or is likely to affect, safe driving. This would apply to any chronic medical condition.

These are just five examples of conditions that need to be reported to the DVLA.  

See the table below for all the 189 issues that need to be declared if it affects your ability to drive. 

The 189 medical conditions the DLVA lists that could affect driving 

Absence seizures

Acoustic neuroma

Addison’s disease

Agoraphobia

Alcohol problems

Alzheimer’s disease

Amaurosis fugax

Amputations

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Angina

Angioplasty

Ankylosing spondylitis

Anorexia nervosa

Anxiety

Aortic aneurysm

Arachnoid cyst

Arrhythmia

Atrial defibrillator

Arteriovenous malformation

Arthritis

Asperger syndrome

Ataxia

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Autistic spectrum condition

Balloon angioplasty (leg)

Bipolar disorder

Blackouts

Blepharospasm

Blood clots

Blood pressure

Brachial plexus injury

Brain abscess, cyst or encephalitis

Brain aneurysm

Brain angioma

Brain haemorrhage

Brain injury (traumatic)

Brain tumours

Broken limbs

Brugada syndrome

Burr hole surgery

Caesarean section

Cancer

Cataracts

Catheter ablation

Cardiac problems

Carotid artery stenosis

Cataplexy

Cavernoma

Central venous thrombosis

Cerebral palsy

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Chiari malformation

Chronic aortic dissection

Cognitive problems

Congenital heart disease

Convulsions

Coronary artery bypass or disease

Coronary angioplasty

Cranial nerve palsy (with double vision

Cystic fibrosis

Deafness

Defibrillator

Déjà vu

Dementia 

Depression

Diabetes

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Diplopia (double vision)

Dizziness

Drug misuse

Eating disorders

Empyema (brain)

Epilepsy

Essential tremor

Eye conditions

Fainting

Fits

Fractured skull

Friedreich’s ataxia

Glaucoma

Global amnesia

Grand mal seizures

Guillain-Barré syndrome

Head injury

Heart attack

Heart arrhythmia

Heart failure

Heart murmurs

Heart palpitations

Heart valve disease or replacement valve

High blood pressure

HIV or AIDS

Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Huntington’s disease

Hydrocephalus

Hypertension

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypoglycaemia

Hypoxic brain damage

Hysterectomy

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

Intracerebral haemorrhage

Ischaemic heart disease

Kidney dialysis

Kidney problems

Korsakoff’s syndrome

Labyrinthitis

Learning difficulties

Left bundle branch block

Leukaemia

Lewy body dementia

Limb disability

Long QT syndrome

Loss of an eye

Low blood sugar

Lumboperitoneal shunt

Lung cancer

Lymphoma

Macular degeneration

Malignant brain tumours

Malignant melanoma

Manic depressive psychosis

Marfan’s syndrome

Medulloblastoma

Memory problems (severe)

Meningioma 

Mini-stroke

Monocular vision (sight in one eye only)

Motor neurone disease

Multiple sclerosis

Muscular dystrophy

Myasthenia gravis

Myocardial infarction

Myoclonus

Narcolepsy

Night blindness

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obstructive sleep apnoea

Ocular myasthenia gravis (with double vision)

Ophthalmoplegia (with double vision)

Pacemakers

Palpitations

Paranoia

Paranoid schizophrenia

Paraplegia

Parkinson’s disease

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral neuropathy

Personality disorder

Petit mal seizures

Pituitary tumour

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Psychosis

Psychotic depression

Pulmonary arterial hypertension

Renal dialysis

Retinal artery fugax

Retinitis pigmentosa

Retinopathy (with laser treatment)

Schizo-affective disorder

Schizophrenia

Scotoma

Seizures

Severe communication disorders

Severe depression

Sight in one eye only

Sleep apnoea

Sleepiness (excessive)

Spinal problems and injuries

Stroke

Subarachnoid haemorrhage

Surgery

Syncope

Tachycardia

Temporal lobe epilepsy

Tonic clonic fits

Tourette’s syndrome

Transient global amnesia

Transient ischaemic attack

Tunnel vision

Usher syndrome

Valve disease or replacement valve

Ventricular defibrillator

Vertigo

Vision in one eye only

Visual acuity (reduced)

Visual field defect

VP shunts

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

Source: Gov.uk