The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

What medical conditions stop you from driving?

If you’re a driver and your health takes a turn for the worse, you may need to tell the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). Here’s what you’ll need to declare, why it’s important to do so, and what could happen if you don’t.

Do I need to tell the DVLA about a medical condition?

If your GP has told you not to drive for more than three months, you must tell the DVLA and surrender your licence. You’ll be able to reapply for your licence when your GP tells you it’s safe for you to drive again. Voluntarily giving up your licence can make it easier to get back in the long run (you can find out more at GOV.UK, surrendering your licence).

There are also certain ‘notifiable’ conditions that you must tell DVLA about, this could be a medical condition or a disability that affects your driving.

If you have an existing condition or disability that becomes worse or starts to affect your ability to drive, you must tell DVLA about this too.

What medical conditions do I need to declare?

If you’ve got a health condition or disability, you can check what you need to do at GOV.UK, find your health condition. When you search for your condition, you’ll also be able to download forms to let DVLA know (different conditions need different forms).

Depending on what your condition is and treatment, you may not need to tell DVLA, unless you want to.

Examples of notifiable conditions that you must declare to DVLA, include:

  • Diabetes treated by insulin: if your treatment is likely to last more than three months or you’re at risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
  • Sleep apnoea: if you’ve been confirmed as having severe sleep apnoea syndrome with excessive sleepiness, you must report your condition, this also includes narcolepsy.
  • Epilepsy: if you’ve had any seizures or blackouts, you must stop driving straightaway, it’s very likely that your licence will also be taken away, but you can reapply for it if you haven’t had a seizure for at least a year. If your seizure was because your medication has been changed, you can usually reapply for your licence after six months.
  • Glaucoma: if you have an eye condition in both eyes, or only have vision in one eye, you must tell DVLA. You’ll also need to tell them if your GP, optician or eye specialist has told you that you don’t meet the minimum vision standards for driving.

Do I need to tell DVLA if I’ve had a stroke?

If you’ve had a stroke, you’re expected to stop driving for at least one month, but you don’t need to tell DVLA immediately.

If you’ve recovered and your GP says it’s safe for you to drive, you can get back behind the wheel.

However, you must tell DVLA if you experience any of the following symptoms one month after your stroke:

  • Weakness in your arms and legs.
  • Issues with your vision.
  • Issues with your balance, memory or ability to understand.

You’re also expected to tell DVLA if you have any seizures, or if you’ve had brain surgery because of your stroke.

What will happen after I tell the DVLA?

What happens will really depend on the condition you have and your ability to drive safely. In some cases, you won’t need to do anything unless your condition becomes worse and starts to affect your driving.

Possible next steps that DVLA may take after you’ve told them about a health condition, include:

  • Speaking to your GP to get a better idea of your health.
  • Asking you to have a health examination.
  • Asking you to take a driver assessment to see how your condition affects your driving.

Depending on the outcome of any health assessments, DVLA may issue you with a driving licence for a shorter period of time (one, two or three years) instead of the usual ten-year licence.

DVLA may also suggest making modifications to your car so that you can continue to drive.

What sort of modifications are available to help me drive?

If DVLA want to carry out a driver assessment, they’ll usually arrange this and cover the cost, however, there could be a long waiting list. Instead, you can pay for the assessment yourself.

Assessments are carried out at Driving Mobility Centres; they aren’t the same as driving tests so there’s no pass or fail. What usually happens is that an assessor will discuss your health condition and try to understand where particular weaknesses lie; for example, if certain limbs are stronger than others or if there are joints that cause you pain.

There may be a visual test and tasks designed to assess your memory. You’ll also need to drive for around 50 minutes with an assessor so they can get a clearer idea of your specific needs and where a modification might help.

After the assessment, you’ll be sent a comprehensive report detailing any recommendations.

Modifications will depend on what you need, but it could include:

  • Hand operated pedal controls.
  • Pedal extenders.
  • Steering wheel adaptations.
  • Swivel seats and transfer boards to help you move from a wheelchair into a car seat.

Will a medical condition stop me from driving?

A medical condition won’t necessarily mean you have to stop driving. It will come down to whether or not you can drive safely (with or without car adaptations).

However, if your GP or other health specialist has told you not to drive, you mustn’t.

What are the penalties if I don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition?

If you don’t tell DVLA about a condition that could affect your driving, you can be fined up to £1,000. If you have an accident while behind the wheel, you could also be taken to court.

Don’t forget to tell your car insurer about medical conditions

If you need to tell DVLA about your medical condition, you’ll need to let your car insurer know too. It’s likely that your premium may increase but if you don’t tell your insurer, you risk your policy becoming void. If this happens, your insurer can refuse to pay out if you make a claim and you could find it harder to buy car insurance in the future.

For more information about finding the right car insurance for your needs, take a look at these in-depth guides:


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Car Insurance

  • You could save up to £504*
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars**
  • Quotes from 100+ providers

Motor Insurance Reviews

NimbleFins Newsletter

Get deals, tips, news, and more!