A diagnosis of dementia shouldn’t stop a person driving, but you may have to undergo assessments to ensure you are still safe to drive. You should also inform your insurer and check with your GP or health care practitioner if you are taking any kind of medication that could affect driving.
If you have received a diagnosis of dementia (or other diagnosis) you have a legal requirement to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You may be asked for further information from yourself or your GP or be invited for a driving assessment.
The DVLA provide a Confidential medical information form CG1 to inform the DVLA and to provide your authorisation for them to contact your GP or health care professional about your diagnosis and to consent to the release of details about DVLA driving assessment outcomes if required.
The form should be printed and completed in block capitals and sent to the DVLA details on the form. Your GP should be able to advise you about how to complete the form and what information you need to provide.
The DVLA will then review the information provided and decide if they need further information from your GP or other health care practitioner and if a driving assessment is needed to assess if your diagnosis is effecting your driving.
DVLA driving assessments are used to assess the impact that dementia has on a person’s driving safety and ability. Assessments include an on-road driving ‘test’ with an advanced instructor and an interview with an occupational therapist to assess reaction times and vision.
The DVLA may invite you for an assessment based on the medical information provided or after discussion with your doctor or health care professional. If they believe an assessment if required they will send you a form to complete and return and the assessment will be paid for by the DVLA.
If you are unsure about your driving skills or medication, then we would recommend talking to your GP about an assessment of your driving skills. If you believe your safety or other road users may be effected then you must stop driving until you are assessed.
You can also self-refer for a driving assessment using the Driving ability application form. The completed form and card details or cheque are sent to the QEF Mobility Services assessment centre details below. Booking the assessment takes approximately 4 weeks and the cost of the driving assessments is £180 and can be booked directly through approved mobility centres.
What does the assessment entail?
In both cases the assessment starts with a discussion with the occupational therapist (an OT) about how your diagnosis may affect your driving. The OT will ask you questions about your driving skills and health. Next, you will use a car simulator to test reaction times before the onsite assessment is conducted in a dual steering car provided by the centre for insurance purposes. You will then be taken out on to the public roads to complete the driving assessment. The assessments take 3 – 4 hours in total but there are breaks throughout the assessment for refreshments.
What happens after the assessment?
If the DVLA arranged your driving assessment and after inquiries decides that you can continue to drive, you will be issued with a new driving licence lasting between 1 – 3 years and may need to be reviewed again if things change.
If the DVLA have decided that you are no longer able to drive you will be asked to return your licence to the DVLA and must stop driving immediately. You can appeal the DVLAs decision by a formal appeal to a court within 6 months of the decision but you will not be able to drive until the appeal is heard.
For more information from the DVLA about driving with a medical condition or disability and renewing your licence please read the Medical conditions, disabilities and driving guide from gov.uk. If you are in any doubt about driving, please contact the DVLA. Details can be found on gov.uk Contact DVLA pages.
Making the decision to give up driving can be very difficult and challenging. Always seek the advice of your doctor or health care professional if you are concerned about your safety or of the person with dementia you support or care for.
The Alzheimer’s Society has created a Driving and dementia guide and also offers advice and support deciding when to stop driving. They also offer an advice line if you are experiencing difficulties making the decision with a person with dementia you support or care for. Details of the Alzheimer’s Society Helpline and other services can be found on their website.
Your local authority may be able to offer a Blue Badge to help with parking and other practical advice. You can Search for your local authority contact details here.
If you care for a person with dementia there may be some forms of financial support or grants available for driving lessons. Your Local Authority social services team will be able to advise you or offer a carers assessment to help identify your needs.