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 questions DVLA and licensing questions Taxi and private hire questions

Medical questions

Why do you need to measure my eyesight without my glasses on? I always wear my glasses when I'm driving and I know my vision is no good without them.

DVLA have an “01” code on the back of the plastic licence. You get this put on your licence if you can’t pass the eyesight test without your glasses. So the reason DVLA want to know what your eyesight is like without glasses is so they know whether to give you an 01 code. Unfortunately taxi licensing authorities also ask for your eyesight to be measured without glasses but it’s completely pointless. It doesn’t matter how bad your eyesight is when you’ve not got your glasses on.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

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.

(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

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.

(back to top)

I have had lung cancer. Can I get a lorry or taxi licence?

The medical rules for a taxi are exactly the same as a bus and lorry and it’s called the “group 2″standard. If you’ve had lung cancer, you cannot have a group 2 type of licence until at least one year after it’s been treated and then only if follow-up tests are satisfactory. There is one particular type of lung cancer where the rules are less strict. You would need to talk to your doctor about exactly what type of lung cancer it is.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

DVLA and licensing questions

What is a D4 Licence?

The names can be confusing. There is no such thing as a D4 licence. The D4 is the medical questionnaire which the doctor has to complete when you apply for a licence. The medical requirements are exactly the same for a bus or lorry. The medical standard is called “group 2”. Most people just talk about HGV licence for a lorry, or a PCV licence for a bus.
(back to top)

Do I need a medical for a C1 licence?

A C1 licence is needed for a small lorry between 3.5 tonne and 7.5 tonne, or a small bus like a minibus. It’s the same medical which you’d also need for a normal lorry or bus, so when you are filling in the application form remember to tick all the boxes so you get a provisional licence to cover all buses and lorries.

(back to top)

Who can fill in a D4 form?

The form has to be filled in by a doctor who has a full medical licence. The eyesight page on the D4 form can be filled in by an optician or optometrist instead but most good doctors will happily complete the eyesight check as well at no extra cost to save you paying an optician.
(back to top)

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.

(back to top)

How long can you drive around with an expired licence?

There is a special rule called Section 88 which sometimes allows people to continue driving after their licence has run out. This applies to drivers who are medically fit to drive and who have submitted an application to renew their licence. It doesn’t apply to a person who has had their licence taken away from them, but only if the previous licence had run out.
(back to top)

Do I need an HGV medical at 45?

Yes, usually you do. However, if it’s less than five years since you got your first licence DVLA probably won’t send for you until the five years is up, even if that’s past 45.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)

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.
(back to top)