DVLA: a warning to the wise

I haven't been here for a while and don't intend to stop, but I just wanted to inform people of something that has just happened to me to give fair warning.

A few months ago, having read that I should have informed DVLA of my diagnosis in spite of the fact that my condition had never affected my ability to drive (in fact, I think it had improved it), I duly downloaded the DVLA notification form and filled it in.  I stipulated that my condition had never had an adverse impact on my driving ability.  I have held my licence for over 40 years and have never had so much as a single point on it.  No accidents.  No speeding fines or convictions.  No police stops.  No DUIs.  Nothing.  Recently, I started to do minibus driving in my new job, taking some of the home's residents out on day trips.   I had a driving assessment prior to that and was told I was an easy pass because I was safe, vigilant and confident.  A good driver.

One of the questions asked on the form was whether I had visited my GP in the last six months for reasons related to my condition.  I said 'Yes', because of the bullying issue in my last job which had caused so many problems and had led to extended sick leave (and my finally leaving the job).  The sick notes I was given, ongoing, by my GP said 'Anxiety and stress related to ASC.'  So, it was an honest answer.

A short time after I sent in the form, I got a letter from DVLA stating that they would be writing to my GP for verification.

Today, I got another letter from them.  I cannot drive.  My licence is cancelled and I must return it.  I must also take any vehicle I may have off the road and apply for a SORN, as the tax is now also cancelled.

The reason?  One of the questions asked of my GP was whether I had had any history of alcohol problems.  She said 'Yes', which is right.  The next question was about whether I had managed to control the problem for a period of longer than three months.  She answered 'No'.  Not really correct - but correct in terms of their definition of 'control', which basically means drinking less than the recommended weekly 14 units.  My drinking has never affected my ability to drive quite simply because I would never drive whilst incapable through intoxication, or 'under the influence'.  For DVLA purposes, though, that's beside the point.

I haven't actually seen my GP since Christmas, so she has no idea of how things have been for me since then.  I'm sober now, have been for some time, and have no intention of restarting drinking.  I'm happy in my new job and am turning my life around.  In most respects, things have been on the up.

I've rung DVLA and had it out with them, civilly, and they've informed me the decision stands.  I can't drive for six months - unless my GP is willing to provide evidence that she may not have given full enough information about me.  When I get my licence back, too, I may have lost 'grandad' rights on it and just get the licence that everyone gets now, without the D1 category I need to drive the larger vehicles at work.

I've also rung my manager and explained the situation, and she's told me not to worry.  But it looks bad.  It looks like I've been deceiving them about my health and my driving, which I haven't.  They know about my ASC and my MH history.  They like the job I'm doing, so I don't think I need to worry about losing my job.  But I'll have to explain it all, and it may make things difficult in other ways - not least because they've had to pay out for this driving assessment for a driving job I can no longer do.  To all intents and purposes, it's as if I've lost my licence (albeit temporarily) for a DUI or something.  This could have other impacts along the line with insurance, etc.

The bottom line is:  I'm being penalised for doing nothing wrong.  For being honest, in fact, and informing the correct authorities. In a reversal of the usual legal principle that applies in other cases, I'm being adjudged as guilty until I can prove my innocence.  Surely, my driving record should be proof enough.  Not so.

So... just to let you know what you might get if you let them know, as you are supposed to, and they write to your GP.  Even if your condition has never affected your ability to drive, other aspects of your doctor's report may have an impact.

And you may end up without a licence - even if your driving record has been as long and as spotless as mine.

I hope you are all well.

Best wishes,


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