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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Hundreds of motorists are still on the road despite having their licences revoked


A driver can have their licence cancelled or refused on medical grounds.

Motorists also have a duty to inform the DVLA of any medical condition that might affect their performance behind the wheel - which includes ailments like epilepsy, visual impairment, severe mental illness, or diabetes that results in ‘hypos’.

Yet many who are stripped of their licences, or denied, are still refusing to give up their car keys.

A new Freedom of Information request to the DVLA by Select Car Leasing has revealed a shocking 1,303 prosecutions for ‘Driving after a licence has been cancelled (revoked) or refused on medical grounds’ since 2019.

There were 269 endorsements last year alone - down from 2021’s high of 412 offences recorded. The UK began its phased exit from Covid-19 lockdown in March 2021, which may explain that year’s high figure, says Select Car Leasing.

There were also regional hotspots for unfit drivers gambling with lives - with London, Glasgow and Norwich all featuring prominently in the black list.

Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, said: “The DVLA doesn’t revoke or refuse a licence on a whim. That drastic course of action is the result of a lengthy process that involves a DVLA investigation, where the agency will liaise with GPs and other medical professionals to make an informed decision.

“If a licence is taken away, it’s because that motorist is deemed to be a danger to themselves and all other road users.

“So to see such high numbers still getting behind the wheel, and being prosecuted, for driving while unfit to do so is deeply concerning.

“The consequences of someone losing control of their vehicle in a scenario while having an epileptic fit, for example, or suffering a diabetes-related loss of consciousness, has the potential to be absolutely catastrophic.

“Where there’s such an obvious risk to life, we’d urge anyone who finds themselves without a licence due to a health condition to think long and hard before reaching for the car keys.”

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Top 5 locations for ‘Driving after a licence has been cancelled (revoked) or refused on medical grounds’ offences - also known as ‘LC50’ offences:

London - 138 endorsements since 2019.

Glasgow - 36

Norwich - 28

Leicester - 25

Poole - 25

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An LC50 offence for being caught driving despite a licence revoked or refused for medical reasons must remain on a driving licence for four years from the date of the offence .

The Select Car Leasing FOI also uncovered a further 8 prosecutions for 'Driving after making a false declaration about fitness when applying for a licence' offences.

Besides the risk of prosecution, you can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. Those conditions include mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Motorists can appeal a DVLA decision to revoke a licence on medical grounds.

Drivers can also reapply for their licence if and when their doctor says they meet the medical standards for driving.

And once someone reaches 70 years old, they must renew their licence every three years.

Last year the DVLA was criticised for the time it was taking to process medical-related driving licence applications, with 168,000 cases pending at the end of November 2023.

The DVLA blamed backlogs caused by the global pandemic.

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