What You Need To Know For DVLA License Applications

drive-290x220When APPLYING for your driving license you must notify DVLA of any medical conditions or disabilities whether you develop a condition/disability or it has gone worse since you have APPLIED for your license. Notifiable conditions are anything that can affect your driving ability and can include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Strokes
  • Neurological and Mental Health Conditions
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Visual Impairments

If you have a license and do not adhere to the standards of driving and your doctor deems you unfit to drive due to your condition, you must surrender your license and reapply at a later date with your doctor’s approval.

After you tell DVLA, you should normally receive a reply within 6 weeks. DVLA can also contact your doctor or consultant, arrange for you to be examined and ask you take a driving assessment or an eyesight test or driving test. They will then assess your medical condition and decide if:

  • You need to get a new driving license
  • You can have a shorter license varying from 1-3 years which will have a review at the end of that period if you wish to reapply
  • You need to adapt your car by fitting additional controls
  • You must stop driving and give up your license

If told you must stop driving, you will be given the medical reason why and be told when you may reapply for your license as well as how to appeal against the decision and further information.

When renewing or reapplying for your license, DVLA will send a document 90 days before the expiry date if you have a short period driving license. You must receive approval from your doctor beforehand that your are fit to drive if your license was taken away due to a medical condition.

When Booking Your Theory Test:

DVLA_3298_SML_AW-300x202-290x202DVLA require all medical conditions and requirements to be declared at the time of BOOKING. When booking your theory test online you can either contact DVSA over the phone and state your medical condition and receive advice on how to book and what to declare or you can state on your actual booking form if you require an English or Welsh voice-over for those who suffer from dyslexia or other reading difficulties.

You may also ask for additional time to complete the multiple choice section of the test.

You must send proof of your reading difficulty to the theory test BOOKING customer services and can be a letter from a teacher or other educational professional or a doctor/medical professional. DVSA may also consider proof from somebody else independent who knows of your reading difficulty such as your employer or trainer.

When Driving:

If you wear CONTACT LENSES or glasses – you must wear them every time you drive whether you are a learner drive or have passed to meet the standards of vision for driving.Noplate-290x220

The standards state you must be able to read a car number plate made after 1st September 2001 from a 20 metre distance (with glasses or CONTACT LENSES if required). You must have an adequate field of vision (which can be told by your optician) and must have a visual acuity of decimal 0.5 measured on the Snellen Scale using both eyes together or the eye that you have sight in.

When taking your practical driving test you will be asked to read a numberplate from a CAR IN front at a 20 metre distance. If you fail to do this your test will be cancelled and you will automatically fail with your license revoked. When reapplying you will be asked to take an eyesight test with DVSA at a test centre. If you pass, you will then be asked to take the standard eyesight test at your next practical driving test.

Don’t forget – you can be fined up to £1,000 for not telling DVLA of any medical conditions or disabilities and can be prosecuted if you have an accident.

Current status of standards

The current standards don’t take into account the time taken to pick the number plate at the 20 metre distance which means a driver could squint their eyes and reach the standard but it takes them longer than what would be deemed acceptable by eye specialists. Technically, the driver would “pass” but when reaction times are very important, this is NOT safe in our professional opinion. If you have been prescribed glasses by your Optician for this reason, you owe to other drivers and yourself to wear a correction each time you set foot inside your car.

If you are told by your Optician to stop driving as you are not reaching the visual standard for driving, then please respect that professional opinion and adhere to their advice even if you feel you are safe.


Read123 are qualified optometrists with over 10 years experience working in both multiple and Independent practice. They are members of The General Optical Council, College of Optometrists and The Association of Optometrists.

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