Why reporting medical conditions to the DVLA can save lives on our roads 

The DVLA require those with a driving licence to notify them of reportable medical conditions so that they can consider whether to place restrictions on a licence or to withdraw the licence. 

We recently attended on behalf of the family of Ross Goulding a criminal trial at the Crown Court of R -v- Mr Roderick Anthony Hamilton. Mr Hamilton had been found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict of causing the death by dangerous driving of Mr Ross Goulding following a fatal road traffic collision on 16th June 2021. 

In the course of the criminal trial it was heard that Mr Hamilton had in 2019 been instructed by a treating medical professional not to drive and to contact the DVLA who may have restricted his licence. He did neither and continued to drive. 

On the 20th November 2020 Mr Hamilton, due to his age, applied to the DVLA to renew his driving licence as required once you attain 70 but failed to notify the DVLA of his medical condition therefore his license was reissued.  

On the 16th June 2021 Mr Hamilton was driving his motor vehicle when he drove across the path of Mr Goulding’s motorcycle causing a collision and the loss of Mr Goulding’s life. 

Mr Hamilton’s licence following the road traffic collision, prior to trial, was withdrawn by the DVLA on medical grounds when they were informed of his condition. Whilst Mr Hamilton’s medical condition may not have been a factor in the cause of the road traffic collision it could not be ignored that had he prior to the road crash reported to the DVLA his condition then he may not have been driving in the first place and, therefore, the collision avoided. 

When to report medical conditions to the DVLA

Every motorist has a legal duty to inform the DVLA of any medical condition they have, whether this be when first applying for a driving license, renewing it at the age of 70 or if you develop a notifiable condition or disability.

Examples of notifiable conditions are:

  • Diabetes;
  • Syncope (fainting);
  • Heart conditions;
  • Sleep apnoea;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Strokes; and 
  • Glaucoma. 

To check if your condition needs reporting, please refer to https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving/find-condition-a-to-z.

It is also important to remember that you have a duty to inform the DVLA if your existing medical condition has worsened since you obtained your license. 

Surrendering your driving license 

As in the case of Mr Hamilton, if a motorist is advised by a medical practitioner to stop driving, they have a duty to inform the DVLA. If your medical practitioner has advised against driving for three months or more, you must immediately surrender your license. 

There is the opportunity to apply to get your license back once you have met the medical standards for driving again. 

The consequences of failing in your duty to report

You could be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA about a condition that might affect your ability to drive safely. You could also be prosecuted for dangerous driving if you are involved in a collision as a result of your medical condition. Most poignantly, a motorist continuing to drive against medical advice, risks causing death or serious injury to themselves and other innocent road users. As motorists, we owe each other a duty in doing our upmost to stay safe on the road.  

It is the responsibility of all motorists to ensure that they abide by the rules of having a driving licence and should you develop a medical condition then contact the DVLA to check whether it will affect your ability to continue driving. A motor vehicle is a potential weapon that has the potential to cause serious injury and/or death.

Matthew Claxson – Personal injury partner

How can Moore Barlow help

Matthew Claxson and Olivia Smith acted for the family of Mr Goulding in a civil insurance claim. If you have suffered serious injury or bereavement after a road crash then contact our specialist solicitors on 0800 157 7611 or claim@moorebarlow.com. Our solicitors are skilled at accessing rehabilitation, securing for you interim payments and compensation to help rebuild lives.