Impairments caused by health problems can affect the driving ability. The task of driving can be thought of as a continuous loop,
where information about the road, other drivers and the vehicle is processed by the brain, and this leads to the driver taking action to adjust the speed and direction of the vehicle and to direct their gaze to likely danger areas .
The results of these actions then feed back into a further round of adjustments. A long list of medical problems can interfere the driving performance, but a limited number of cases usually encountered in practice, mainly epilepsy Diabetes, heart diseases and vision problems.
The decision on fitness to drive is usually based on information obtained from the driver and on a medical report from the driver's doctor. However, as part of the decision-making process, the Medical Branch of the Licensing Agency may request a practical assessment of driving ability.
Some people, following an injury or illness, want advice on their ability to drive before informing the Licensing Agency of their medical condition.
Conditions for which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency should be notified
The DVLA website lists almost 200 conditions in alphabetical order for which people MAY need to notify. For any condition which potentially could interfere with driving capacity, refer to this guide. Some of the more common examples for which the DVLA states that it must be informed include:
- An epileptic event (seizure or fit).
- Sudden attacks of disabling giddiness, fainting or blackouts.
- Severe learning disability.
- A pacemaker or implanted defibrillator device fitted.
- Diabetes controlled by insulin or tablets that have a high risk of causing hypoglycaemia - eg, sulfonylureas.
- Parkinson's disease.
- Any other chronic neurological condition.
- Dementia or a serious problem with memory.
- A major or minor cerebrovascular event (only if there is residual neurological or cognitive deficit one month after the event).
- Multiple transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) over a short period but not single TIA.
- Any type of brain surgery, brain tumour or severe head injury involving inpatient treatment at hospital.
- Any severe psychiatric illness or mental disorder
- Continuing/permanent difficulty in the use of arms or legs which affects your ability to control a vehicle.
- Dependence on or misuse of alcohol, illicit drugs or chemical substances in the previous three years (do not include drink/driving offences).
- Any visual disability which affects BOTH eyes (do not declare short/long sight or colour blindness).
- Narcolepsy or other primary hypersomnia.
From: FITNESS TO DRIVE: A GUIDE FORHEALTH PROFESSIONALS - Tim Carter UK