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Doctor won't let me drive anymore

I haven’t been diagnosed yet and have only had an MRI of lower spine and been referred to neuro 2 months ago. I’ve been having loads of ms symptoms this last year or so of nerve pain in hips, upper back pain and like shocks up spine and shoulders, legs burning and tremors. Walking long distances has become very difficult too. I have urinary issues and have to self catheterise. Anyhoo I was at my GP today as it’s been slowly getting worse and I’ve had no word from neuro and she preformed a test on my foot and said I need to see neuro asap and that she will ring them to push the appt. what worries me is that she said she is 99.9% sure I have ms she said I can’t drive anymore. This has really turned me upside down as I rely on my car when my hubbys at work as I can’t walk too far. I’m only 35 and feel like I’m losing my independence. Has this happened to anyone else? Does having ms mean that you can no longer drive?

No - a diagnosis of MS means that you have to inform the DVLA (and then your insurance co).

MS can only be diagnosed by a neurologist - a GP cannot do this.

For a GP to tell you to stop driving, one of your symptoms must be very bad indeed - like very slow reactions, for example.
If the telling was more of a “if it’s MS you will not be able to drive” sort of thing, then it is probably not official.
Start with this page:

and read about being told to stop driving - then check all the things you have to report.

Then, if you were actually told to stop - you stop.
Otherwise you can carry on until you see a neurologist.
But if you feel that you cannot drive safely - then you must stop.

Geoff

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Hi dr21982 my eperience was, told dvla about my ms year odd ago, like you i have a ton of symptoms and cant walk far so was worried of my outcome.my dic was sent a questionnaire on my driving and she also asked me, i said fine so i was given a 3 year licence. My neuro guy has never asked or even mentioned my driving.i feel uf you say the wrong thing by mistake though your independence can be wipped away which i alsi myself would struggle with.im alone and have noone else to help.i now use an automatic as i coudnt carry on in my manual using the clutch.its been great.but i know iv declined and cocnotive function has but i feel im very sensible and if i felt unsafe to id stop.if theres good reason youve ben told although your only 35 you may have to stop but its not set in stone just yet is it.i myself cant get out much anyway so not a big driver now anyway but i feel for you worrying about losing independence as i fear it every day as its bound to come sooner or later.i do know my lical test centre do a safe driving thing if needd to see if you still ok to drive.maybe you have that so at least you could get a second opion on your safety maybe.good luck and hope all goes well for you

If you have a 3 year licence issued by the DVLA ( replacing your current licence ) as you are fit to drive based on your diagnosis. Do you still need to inform your insurance company. Surely if youre allowed to drive your insurance shouldnt be altered.

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Well as that question was on my mind did i inform them , iv just called my insurance company…churchill…to double check and they say no mist companies dont need to know as long as dvla know.sonething to do with they cant particulaly ask about medical conditions as such as it woyld discriminate on ill people and could bump up oremiums whuch obv they shouldnt and cant so rules have been changed.depends in the company you use though

I also did say to operator i was on a 3 year licence…she happened to have one for epilepsy so she defo knew correct info

Thank you everyone. I thought it would only need tell dvla once a diagnosis was made? I haven’t been driving much at all really because I have been so stiff and sore and then she asked me yesterday how I got to the surgery. I only happened to be driving yesterday cause my hubby was at work and I’d no other choice. I’m really gutted that she said this although I do understand her reasons. But should I not wait until I get diagnosed before telling dvla?

Hi

Most definitely, having MS doesn’t mean you can’t drive as Dr Geoff said. Driving fitness is based on symptoms and disability, not on a particular diagnosis.

Even if you can’t either feel your feet anymore, or your response times with your feet are impaired, you can get an automatic car fitted with hand controls, so you can still drive.

However, you can’t say, you’ve experienced MS symptoms unless you’ve been diagnosed with MS. And only a neurologist can do this after having done a neurological exam and had tests done to confirm (or otherwise) a diagnosis.

So, your GP was right to try to move your neuro appointment up. But be careful of staying definitively that you have MS as there are many other disorders which can present with symptoms much like MS. Wait until you’ve seen a neurologist and see what they think.

Meanwhile, if you feel your response times are acceptable, and you feel safe to drive, (having tried to look at it as objectively as possible), then continue to drive.

Personally, I had my driving tested about 10 years after MS started because I felt my response times were a bit slow. I went to a mobility driving assessment centre (which 10 years ago cost about £140) and had my driving assessed. I was actually just about legal, but decided at that point to get my car fitted with hand controls as I didn’t think it would improve over time and I’d rather be safe.

I still have a driving license, it’s a 3 year license and is restricted to automatic cars with hand controls. I actually don’t drive anymore but that’s got more to do with social reasons than medical. (My husband retired so does all the driving.)

Sue

To repeat what Dr Geoff said -and he knows what he is talking about - the obligation to tell the DVLA only arises if you have an actual diagnosis of certain conditions. With a diagnosis of MS most people are still allowed to drive but if you don’t tell the DVLA , then that is a CRIMINAL OFFENCE. If your doctor examines you and tells you to stop driving that is different and you MUST stop driving immediately because you are not currently safe to drive. It doesn’t mean that it will never be different but Doctors don’t do this on a whim.

I agree that, regardless of whether the GP was being reasonable or not, it would be daft to just carry on driving regardless, having been told by a GP that you were not safe to drive. Imagine how that would look if there were to be an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault! You wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, and might be in trouble for driving around with insurance that had been invalidated due to non-disclosure into the bargain.

For sure, the priorities are to get to the bottom of exactly what the GP said and why and secondly to find out what is the process you need to go through to have your driving competence reviewed and (we hope) declared satisfactory. In the meantime, if your GP has told you that you are not safe to drive, I do not think you should get behind the wheel until you have something definite to override that advice.

(By the way, unless you are grossly impaired by your symptoms, it does sound as though your GP might be a bit of a thoughtless, over-zealous numbskull. But that is neither here nor there, alas. S/he has said what s/he has said, and that cannot be ignored or set aside (or so it seems to me) until the position is changed in some decisive way.)

Alison

[quote=“alison100”] You… … might be in trouble for driving around with insurance that had been invalidated due to non-disclosure into the bargain.
… … In the meantime, if your GP has told you that you are not safe to drive, I do not think you should get behind the wheel until you have something definite to override that advice.

Alison [/quote]

This is a point that gets overlooked all too often, and some of it should have been in bold type.

There is no requirement in criminal law to inform you insurance company, but there is in civil law.
You have a contract with the company, and one clause will require that you inform them of any material change in your circumstances. That includes all matters of your health.
Failure to do so can invalidate your insurance - and driving without insurance is a criminal act.
The company cannot penalise you because you have (say) MS - that would be discrimination; they can refuse to cover you for non-disclosure.
All you have to do is to tell them - without too much detail - and just say “DVLA Informed”. Then, if the DVLA have given you a licence, or let you keep one, you can drive.

As to whether the OP should stop, that depends on exactly what the GP said, and why.
"You must stop" means exactly that - STOP. Seek clarification immediately.

FWIW, I went through a similar thing last December.
My MS nurse thought I might have nystagmus - which is on the DVLA list of reportables - and told me to see an optometrist immediately. As it happened, I already had an appointment for the following week and was able to ask that I be checked for nystagmus. On being cleared, I was able to e-mail the nurse and tell her (thus putting it on record) that I had taken her advice, been checked, and cleared… I had just informed the DVLA that I had diplopia, and gotten more forms to fill in, but was able to send a copy of the eyetest results including the words “no change needed”. Back came my licence.

Do it right, and it might be only a minor inconvenience, doing it wrong could cause a whole load of trouble.

Geoff

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Thank you Geoff that’s been a massive help. I’ve just stopped driving altogether now to be on the safe side. I have my first appt with neuro on Wednesday and i will take things from there I suppose.

Hi, I know how upset I was when my legs wouldnt let me drive anymore and I didnt fancy hand controls.

It`s another big let down through having a chronic, disabling condition.

After 15 years, I`m just about to buy myself a wav that my carer will drive me around in.

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