Nearly 30% of drivers who are older than 65 are suffering with a medical condition like visual impairment, epilepsy or diabetes, yet half of them fail to inform the DVLA of this so they are able to stay on the road.
These figures have been revealed by Direct Line Insurance who said that the majority of older drivers who are suffering with these issues don’t have the belief that the condition affects their ability to drive safely.
However, they are running the risk of facing fines of up to £1,000 as well as prosecution for not informing the DVLA of their serious medical conditions.
When 506 drivers who were over the age of 65 were asked by Direct Line about their medical conditions, 28% said that they had one of the medical conditions listed by the DVLA that need to be signed off for them to be able to retain a licence.As there are 7.6 million pensioners in the UK with valid licences according to the latest figures taken from the driving standards agency, it means that on average there could be 2.1 million who have an illness that they need to inform the DVLA about.
But only just over half of the panel surveyed said that they had come forward to inform the DVLA about these problems, which means that over a million drivers could be at risk of being behind the wheel without being given the go ahead from the appropriate authorities. From those who admitted to failing to disclose their condition, nearly 60% said that this was because they didn’t feel their illness or condition impacted on their driving ability. One in eight of them said they were unaware of this obligation and 27% gave “other” reasons.
However, its not just the older drivers who are not telling the DVLA about personal conditions that may impact on their ability to drive safely. According to the research form Direct Line, there is a quarter of drivers who are suffering with “notifiable conditions” but 1 out of 10 have not told the Driver Vehicle Licencing Authority.
The director of motor at Direct Line, Gus Park, said “Regardless of age, drivers that have a notifiable or worsening medical condition or disability must disclose this to the DVLA and also to their insurer to stay within the law. Even those who feel their physical status won’t affect their driving must still disclose their condition, as failing to do so means they risk a hefty fine and even prosecution if they have an accident.”
Mr Park added that “The issue of failing to disclose medical conditions is particularly prevalent amongst older motorists but the rules are the same regardless of age, experience or the severity of a medical issue.”
The study by Direct Line took into consideration the prevalence of some of the more common medical conditions that the DVLA should be informed about. The results revealed that physical disabilities, that affect a tenth of drivers over the age of 65, are only disclosed by 50% of drivers who are suffering with them.
To inform the DVLA of an illness, condition or disability, you can ring them or send them a letter.