Below are some of the frequently asked questions about medicals for driving. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll find what you need.

Medical Conditions

What if I need glasses or contact lenses to pass the eyesight test?

DVLA changed the rules in 2013 so that, so long as your vision with glasses is okay, you don’t have to pass any particular test without your glasses or contact lenses. However, for no reason that we can see, DVLA still insist that the doctor tests your eyesight without your glasses or contact lenses. It doesn’t matter what the result says, but if the measurement isn’t done, DVLA will send the form back to you. Strange, we know – but there it is!

If you are coming for a taxi medical you don’t need to have your eyes tested without your glasses, so long as your vision is okay with your glasses on.

What if I have diabetes and use insulin?

New rules were issued in 2011 which allow diabetics on insulin to hold a DVLA group 2 licence. However, there are quite strict requirements. You need to get a statement every year from a diabetes consultant to say that you are taking care of your diabetes and are checking your blood sugar levels at least twice a day, and that you use a machine which remembers the last three months’ measurements. There are some other requirements including understanding about diabetes and signing a declaration yourself.

What if I have diabetes and take tablets to control it?

If you take tablets which belong to the sulphonylurea or glinide families there are strict rules which were introduced in March 2016. These require you to do a finger prick blood test “at least twice a day and at times relevant to driving, i.e. within two hours of starting to drive and then every two hours whilst driving”. Also, you need to keep fast acting carbohydrate, such as glucose tablets, within easy reach when driving. You also need to have a “clear understanding of diabetes and the necessary precautions for safe driving”.

Common medications within this group are gliclazide, glimepiride, and tablets ending in …glinide, although there are several others.

Other treatments for diabetes, such as metformin, don’t have such strict requirements and don’t require regular finger prick testing.

What if I have had a heart attack?

You cannot go back to driving a lorry or bus for at least six weeks after a heart attack. You will need to have a treadmill test and you will need to be able to keep going for nine minutes on the treadmill test as well as satisfying other requirements during the test. You must not be continuing to suffer from angina.

What if I have epilepsy or have had a fit?

The medical standards for blackouts and fits is complicated and the rules depend on the exact type of episode. For a definite simple faint DVLA may well not take away your licence. For a full-blown epileptic fit, you would lose your licence for at least ten years. For other types of lost consciousness different rules apply. Please contact us for more information if this applies to you.

I have been suffering from anxiety or depression. Will that affect my entitlement to hold a DVLA group 2 licence?

DVLA divide anxiety and depression into two types; a minor category and a more serious category. The minor category is described as “Very minor short-lived illnesses of anxiety or depression without significant memory or concentration problems, agitation, behavioural disturbance, or suicidal thoughts.”

The more serious category is defined as “More severe anxiety states or depressive illnesses with significant memory or concentration problems, agitation, behavioural disturbance, or suicidal thoughts.”

For the minor category, the person does not need to tell DVLA and it does not affect the person’s entitlement to hold a licence provided that any medication is not causing any problems with driving.

For the more serious category, DVLA will generally suspend a person’s group 2 licence (or not give a licence to a new applicant) until the person has been well and stable for six months and until they are satisfied that medication is not causing any side-effects which would interfere with alertness or concentration.

The above is a general summary rather than an exact and full quotation of the DVLA guidelines.

What do I do if I develop a medical condition whilst I have a group 2 (HGV or PCV) licence?

If you have a significant medical condition you would generally need to inform the medical department at DVLA. Short-term acute illnesses, or injuries such as broken limbs, which are expected to recover normal function, do not normally need to be notified. Drivers can notify DVLA by telephoning the medical department, writing to DVLA, or downloading a medical notification form from the DVLA web site and returning that. DVLA will send an acknowledgement to the driver.

DVLA and licensing questions

Does a driver need to stop driving whilst DVLA investigates a medical condition?

DVLA take very seriously the removal of a driver’s vocational licence and will only revoke (withdraw) a licence once there is definite evidence of a relevant medical condition. When a driver first notifies DVLA of an illness, DVLA will write back to the driver acknowledging receipt of the notification, and will start making medical inquiries. This will often include writing to the person’s GP or consultant. At this stage they will generally NOT revoke the driver’s licence. This means that even though a driver may have a serious medical condition, at this stage, he will probably still hold a current driver’s licence. However, no driver is permitted to drive any vehicle if he is medically unfit to do so, so once a driver knows he has a medical condition, whether or not he holds a valid licence to drive, he must only drive if he is fit to do so. In cases of uncertainty, he should take advice from his doctors. The fact that he may still have a valid licence does not automatically mean he is permitted to continue driving.

Taxi and private hire questions

Can I go to any doctor for my DVLA/hackney carriage medical examination?

For a routine DVLA medical to apply for a provisional HGV/PCV licence, or to renew your licence, DVLA allow you to go to any registered doctor. For hackney carriage licences, the rules are more complicated, because some licensing authorities allow you to go to any doctor, some authorities require you to go to the approved council doctor, and some authorities say that you must have the medical with your own GP, so you need to check with your licensing officer before you book your appointment with us.

 

I want to have a hackney licence with Transport for London/PCO in London. Can I come to you?

We believe Transport for London do not require an applicant to go to their GP for a fresh medical if they already hold a provisional PCV or HGV licence. Many GPs charge much more than Cotswold Medicals for a licence medical. So for a person wishing to become a London taxi driver, it may be cheaper to come to us for a DVLA D4 medical for a provisional PCV licence, and then to claim exemption from attending their own GP once they have got the DVLA provisional licence. DVLA do not currently charge for issuing a provisional PCV licence.

We recommend you check that the Transport for London/Public Carriage Office will not require you to go for another medical with your GP if you have a provisional PCV licence.