A Freedom of Information request in 2014 showed that there were 45.5 million people with active driving licences and of those, just under 30,000 people voluntarily surrendered their licence compared with almost 50,000 drivers who had their licence revoked by the DVLA on medical grounds.

As a driver, you have a duty to tell the DVLA if you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability, or if a condition or disability has got worse. The DVLA include alcohol and drug problems as two of these medical conditions. Failing to notify the DVLA about a medication condition which may affect your ability to drive is an offence for which you can fined up to £1,000.

Declaration of voluntary surrender for medical reasons

If you feel that you are no longer fit to drive or are advised by your doctor to give up driving, you can complete a ‘Declaration of voluntary surrender for medical reasons’. The DVLA will send a letter explaining the period of time to wait before you will be eligible to drive again. You can then reapply 8 weeks before the end of this period using a D1 application form. You should check with your doctor that that you meet the medical standards for driving before reapplying for your licence. You may need to send evidence of your fitness to drive – the letter from DVLA will tell you if this is the case.

The DR1 form for alcohol problems and the DG1 form for substance misuse asks questions about levels of consumption as well as details of any treatment programmes which you may have undertaken. Once you have sent the form back to the DVLA, you will usually receive a decision about whether you have been granted a licence within 6 weeks. They may: contact your doctor, ask for you to be examined or have a driving assessment. If the DVLA is not satisfied that you are fit to drive your licence will be revoked.

Should I write to the DVLA?

If your licence has been revoked, you may write to the DVLA to ask them to reconsider its decision. When doing so, you must be able to provide relevant information that was not provided at the time of the original assessment. You must also include proof that you meet the required standards for driving. If this is unsuccessful, you have the option of appealing the decision by way of a hearing in the Magistrates’ Court. In both cases, you must tell the DVLA in writing if you choose to appeal.

Drivers who have been convicted of driving with excess alcohol or drugs may not be granted a licence after the end of the period of disqualification if the DVLA believe that they may be unfit to drive as a result of any ongoing issues with substance misuse. This may occur if the reading in relation to which the driver was charged was particularly high, if it is a second or third offence or if issues regarding alcohol or drug addiction were disclosed at the time of addiction.

In order to substantiate an appeal against a DVLA decision, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible that issues surrounding the medical condition have been resolved. In relation to cases concerning alcohol misuse, a full medical report is advisable.

If your licence has been revoked and you need assistance with appealing the decision, please contact our office on 0800 4334 678.