Drivers in England and Wales are failing to notify the DVLA that they have medical conditions such as visual impairments, diabetes, heart conditions and epilepsy – all of which could make them a danger on the roads.
New analysis by insurer Direct Line estimated that 3.4 million of the nation’s 35.3 million qualified drivers are not making conditions known, despite it potentially putting themselves and other motorists at risk.
And although it is suggested that almost 10 per cent of all licence holders withhold health information, just 64 individuals were convicted and sentenced in court for offences relating to non-disclosure of medical issues in 2015.
Didn’t tell the DVLA: Heart conditions, previous strokes, visual impairments, diabetes and epilepsy were all issues drivers said they didn’t notify the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency about
That means less less than one per cent of all licence holders who have a medical condition but have not declared it are being caught in the act.
To find out why drivers were not making their medical conditions known, Direct Line quizzed 1,776 adults to hear the reasons behind the lack of communication with the DVLA.
Half of those who had failed to contact the relevant parties about their medical issue said they assumed their condition did not affect their driving ability.
Another 14 per cent admitted they didn’t know they had to inform the DVLA to notify them about a health problem.
But the most worrying responses from the panel were the five per cent who didn’t see the point of declaring their condition, while the same number purposely didn’t declare it to the DVLA out of concern that they would have their licence taken away from them.
Failure to notify the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition could lead to a penalty of up to £1,000 and the risk of prosecution if the driver is involved in an accident.
However, the Ministry of Justice told Direct Line that a little over 50 motorists were convicted of driving with an undisclosed medical condition last year.
Speaking about the research, Gus Park, director of motor at Direct Line, said: ‘With some medical conditions having more of an impact on driving ability than being over the drink-drive limit, it’s frightening that almost one in ten motorists drives with a notifiable medical condition they have not reported to the DVLA.
MOST COMMON TYPES OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS SUFFERED BY DRIVERS IN ENGLAND AND WALES
Medical condition % of drivers in England & Wales that suffer from it Heart conditions 9% Stroke or mini stroke 8% Diabetes 7% Physical disability 7% Brain condition or severe head injury 5% Visual impairment 3% Epilepsy 1% Source: Direct Line Car Insurance (2016)
‘It’s clear that there’s no deterrent for those flouting the law in this way, as shown by the small amount of people convicted.
‘With the majority presuming their condition will not affect their driving ability, we urge motorists not to be complacent when it comes to declaring medical conditions.
‘If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you should inform the DVLA, call them to find out. Not declaring a medical condition is illegal, puts you and other road users at risk and can potentially lead to fatal consequences.’