Forum

The DVLA have refused to renew my driving licence

The title of this message says it all. I have had one kick in the teeth after another this year and every time I think I am pulling myself together and getting out of relapse or getting over the latest UTI or chest infection, another thing comes along and knocks me flat on my back again as if Mohammed Ali had socked me when at the peak of his boxing career.

My licence was put on the standard 3-year-renewal 3 years ago. I haven’t had any concerns about renewing it and in fact when I saw my neurologist in May he suggested I go to a local company called DriveAbility and have a driving assessment so that when the DVLA write to him, he has something to base his report around. I had the assessment in June - it included a Speed of Reaction test and then a driving test which lasted about an hour and a half. All went well and the assessor suggested the only change he would suggest is having a ball fitted to the steering wheel to help me turn corners, as my left hand cannot grip the steering wheel hard enough so my right hand does all the work. No problem, I had one fitted on my car and it is really good.

Then the letter came from the DVLA. I filled it in and sent it back not expecting any problems. Back came their reply which said that ‘the combination of tablets I am on cause drowsiness, which would make me a danger to other road users’. I am totally and utterly shocked, gobsmacked and stunned!! More independence gone - I already have to have a carer to shower and dress me; now I cannot drive either. My wife will have to run me everywhere and I cannot even do a little thing like pick up our 15 year-old lad from school.

To say this has depressed me is an understatement. I have been fighting depression for over 2 years and now I am totally flat and am struggling to come to terms with not being able to drive ever again. My wife has said it’s an inconvenience but not the end of the world, but it feels like it to me. 33 years of driving, a totally unblemished driving record, not a single point ever on my driving licence. My brain has all but given up now.

Am I over-reacting or not? Is this a childish reaction or not? Should I just accept it and move on? Or should I just curse this condition again and think back only 5 years when I could walk 3-4 miles without a break, now I cannot walk 100 yards!

Dave,

If your medication isnt making you sleepy, because after a while we get used to doseage, then let your gp know that and have another reaction time test organised to prove you are still capable of driving without falling asleep at the wheel.

Have you at any time told your gp your extremely sleepy or cannot concentrate. I take lots of meds but mine dont make me sleepy, they do when first taking them but after a few months Im not affected by them at all.

Theyre playing safe. Youll have to fight to get your license back but if you feel you are still capable, then do what I suggest and Im sure youll get it back again.

take care, and dont take things lying down,

bren

x

I am waiting to hear back from the DVLA myself. My current license expires next month. I do worry what the outcome will be.

You experience is my worst fear about driving at the moment, after causing a crash obviously. I know some of my medication can cause drowsiness. I am aware that it might and don’t have to drive anywhere now I don’t work so I don’t drive if I’m at all unsure. Not even round to the local shops for the ‘trip out’.

I hope you get it sorted quickly with a bit of reassurance from you to them that you are aware there might be an issue and you make sure you don’t take any risks. It’s what they let us diabetics do after all! I know I have to test my blood to check my blood glucose levels, and make sure I eat to keep my glucose levels up.

I take amitriptyline, which I know causes drowsiness. I take it partly to help me steep. I take it before i go to bed so the drowsiness is while I’m sleeping and never driving.

its so hard when our indepndance is taken away, i learnt to drive aged 38 when i lost my husband, i was unable to walk far at all, and had to get ny young daughter to nursery,so i thought,right, i cant walk much so i will learn to drive,so i did,and felt so good to have my independance back,or at least i did, UNTIL last year when that was taken from me.yet again, when I decided i was no longer safe to drive.i made the right decision though,and it was b****y hard to have to make that decision,i felt it was the end of the world,but i slowly come to terns with it,and i really missed it at first,and at least i was the one to make that decision and not the DVLA.

If your medication doesn’t make you feel drowsy then I think you should consider appealing agaisnt this decision - I’m sure loads of people take various medications and still drive and because they don’t have eg MS their driving ability is never questioned. From recent reports in the press, it seems that half the population is either on benzodiapimes (sp?) or sleeping tablets - I’m not saying that’s a good thing but it does seem unfair that people who actually need a car because they can’t walk very far should be the ones to have to give it up.

Best wishes

B x

I offer my commiserations,but the ‘Good Folk of Swansea’ will do this.I am guessing that unless you can prove with help from GP and Neurotic that you are clean,“Game over”. I truly understand your frustrations,but I moved seamlessly from car driving to Road going Mobility Scooter 20 months ago. 3,000 miles later in all weathers, I truly am a Mark I Darlek.Can’t do stairs or hover,or be bovvered to hoover.

Glibness aside, this does seem to be a huge blow for driving chores within the family,but as for keeping your own sanity and still being able to do stuff together it isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.

My licence is due for renewal March 2013,I haven’t had a car for 15 months or driven for 18 months,but have to apply every ‘ounce’ of 30 years of driving experience, military,commercial and emergency fire appliance every time I whizz out for,coffee,shopping,meeting up,etc.I’m not even re-applying for my licence. No point,and I don’t need the hassle.

Wb

ps PM me if you want to discuss further

1 Like

Hi so sorry about your licence it must me just awful. Can I ask which meds you are on that made them decide to withdraw your licence. Karen

Hi, meds info would be really helpful. This should have anyone with a 3yr medical license worried. I’m on a number of meds which now I’m used to them I’m fine but they all pretty much say can cause drowsiness. I hope you can get this sorted.

Thanks for the replies and advice/suggestions Guys and Gals. This forum is great to share experiences good and bad. As requested by a couple of you my medication is:

  • GABAPENTIN, 2700mg per day (taken as 3 lots of 900 morning, afternoon and bedtime)
  • VENLAFAXINE, 225mg per day taken with breakfast
  • BACLOFEN, 50mg per day (15mg morning and afternoon, 20mg bedtime)
  • ZOMORPH, 60mg per day (30mg morning and bedtime)
  • SOLIFENACIN, 5mg in the afternoon
  • AMITRIPTYLINE, 60mg at bedtime.

My pharmacist has put a label on EVERY ONE of these products saying that the item could make me sleepy or drowsy and not to drive if I feel tired. But this is common sense and people (non MS’rs) all over the country are driving around when tired every day. If I feel tired (who with MS doesn’t!) I don’t drive, it’s as simple as that. I only drive about 3,000 miles a year and most of this is to the doctor surgery or the local hospital which is less than 2 miles away. If I am not up to it, my wife takes me. I am not stupid, but the DVLA don’t seem to care. I see my doctor next week and will be interested to see if she has had a letter from the DVLA asking for her opinion of my capability to drive.

I guess I sound very bitter? You bet I am! The trouble is I can’t afford to fight this through the Magistrate’s Court so I am stuck with it.

If anyone else wants to chat about this on a pm please do so and I will give any advice from my experience that I can.

Oh well, suppose I had better charge up my power chair as it’s going to get plenty of use over the next few weeks and months…ho hum.

I think there probably a lot of 'fit 'people taking medications that would also cause them to be unfit to drive if it were ever formally assessed as has happened in your case.

I would suggest you have two options.

1 Seek medical advice about the medications you are on by asking the doctors who are prescribing them because if DVLA are correct then they should have advised you not to drive before it was formally assessed by DVLA. If the doctor prescribing your drugs does not agree with the ruling then they may be prepared to challenge the ruling on your behalf.

  1. Are the medications you are on of more value to you than your driving licence?

If they are not then it sounds as though DVLA think you are fit to drive apart from that issue. Again whoever is prescribing your medication may be able to certify to DVLA you are now off the drugs that concern them and therefore you should be given a licence.

It is worth considering if there are grounds to fight the decision because the clock starts ticking once you stop being a licenced driver and I think after something like 10 years if you were found to medically fit to drive again you would then have to take another driving test.

Why not ask you GP to re - assess the ‘cocktail’ of meds you are on. As they are all of a type that cause drowsiness and you are taking quite a high dosage. This might be because they are no longer working for you - or they might not be working well together - perhaps cancelling one another out.

From Experience - l know that Baclofen made me so weak and feeble - and at a low dose. The same with Gapapentin - turned me into a zombie - no way would l be able to drive on either of them - let alone together. l do take Amitriptyline 25mg at night - but anymore then that l would have difficulty getting up in the morning.

So have a word with GP - sort out the meds -and then re-apply/appeal for your licence back.

My OH - did lose his licence - due to his diabetes. He appealed and with the GP’s help got it back - so it is possible.

F.

I gave up driving nearly three years ago because of double vision. It’s a different position to you, I know, because I decided not forced by a faceless person in Swansea. However I just wanted to echo WB and say that a scooter saved my sanity.

You mention that you have a powerchair but if I want to go a fair distance or carry things I choose my scooter over the powerchair every time. The longer wheelbase makes it much easier to get over rough ground.

Not having a car is a pain in the bum sometimes (You can’t go to Ikea on a scooter!) but on the whole I manage and the scooter keeps me independent.

90% of how you are feeling is probably to do with another chunk of something taken away but if your appeal is unsuccessful I hope that you can cast off the car with equanimity.

Jane

I meet a freind for coffee on a Friday during her lunchtime, which is a lifesaver for me. And her! The stresses of life as a software tester are huge.

I meet her near her work in central Brisol, using nearby disabled parking. A scooter would be good for me to get around locally, which is where I mostly drive. But I don’t think they’d like me using a scooter to go down the M32 lol

I use my car for some around 5 mile journey and would hate to lose it. I lost my license when I ‘got’ epilepsy and it gutted me! It was the thing I focused my anger and frustration on. I’ve been seizure-free since 1998 so I got my ‘until you’re 71’ license back, then diabetes and MS came along. Which is why I’m waiting for my renewed license now. I lost track of what I was doing and forgot to post the forms back until early this month. I suspect I’ll be off the road for a bit next month if they need to do checks with my GP and neuro.

I don’t mind getting a scooter to get out for a quick trip to the local shops to keep me in contact with the rest of the world under my own steam. It’ll be taxis while my other half is at work otherwise.

Thanks for the meds info, I need to have a word with my ms nurse next week and ensure that any meds likely to cause an issue, or stopped for 6 months, will just go with the pain, at least that way I won’t have any hassle with those dvla Muppets. I hope you can get some help in order to challenge this! Good luck, Pete.

Hi dave

This is my story of dvla revoking my licence and not granting a new one

I filled in my renewal form and made the fatal error of ticking the box, that one medication made me drowsey. This is one pill i take at nite to reduce spasms so i can get some sleep i even wrote a clear explanation explaining this. i had a letter then 4 weeks later telling me my licence would not be renewed and also revoking my current licence,. like u in total shock, working part time single parent who couldnt get to work or do the school run. i rang them and was told that i should of ticked no on the non drowesy box as it only happened at nite!. So i told her ok then i will fill in a new medical form, she told me i had to re-apply all again , i did explain i had written on there about medication but she told me that they just go on tick box and hadnt even checked with my gp or specilaist.! Disgusted you can imagine what my reply was, i rang and spoke to my gp and specialist who assured me that i was fine to drive and that common sense does dictate if you were drowsey you would not drive. filled in all forms again, waited, then got a letter it takes 6 weeks to look into this,Couldnt wait six weeks so i rang my specilist who dictated a letter and faxed it direct to them. after dvla told me it take 3 weeks for them to look at the post! After week 3 and my constant phoning i got a sorry and that my licence had been renewed there and then.

So i would get a letter from your specialist if he feels you are fit to drive explaing your medication like mine did.Hope that helps, as the dvla certainly didnt. x

1 Like

Hi dave

This is my story of dvla revoking my licence and not granting a new one

I filled in my renewal form and made the fatal error of ticking the box, that one medication made me drowsey. This is one pill i take at nite to reduce spasms so i can get some sleep i even wrote a clear explanation explaining this. i had a letter then 4 weeks later telling me my licence would not be renewed and also revoking my current licence,. like u in total shock, working part time single parent who couldnt get to work or do the school run. i rang them and was told that i should of ticked no on the non drowesy box as it only happened at nite!. So i told her ok then i will fill in a new medical form, she told me i had to re-apply all again , i did explain i had written on there about medication but she told me that they just go on tick box and hadnt even checked with my gp or specilaist.! Disgusted you can imagine what my reply was, i rang and spoke to my gp and specialist who assured me that i was fine to drive and that common sense does dictate if you were drowsey you would not drive. filled in all forms again, waited, then got a letter it takes 6 weeks to look into this,Couldnt wait six weeks so i rang my specilist who dictated a letter and faxed it direct to them. after dvla told me it take 3 weeks for them to look at the post! After week 3 and my constant phoning i got a sorry and that my licence had been renewed there and then.

So i would get a letter from your specialist if he feels you are fit to drive explaing your medication like mine did.Hope that helps, as the dvla certainly didnt. x

i too did not think there would be a problem so i did the form sent off and today was gobsmackd to read they have revoked my licence as my meds cause drowsyness i also take at night and put this on the form.

i have emailed my gp for help as its only the amitriptyline that does it and if thats the case i would rather come off it and put up with leg spasms

  • GABAPENTIN, 900mg per day at bedtime
  • AMITRIPTYLINE, 10mg at bedtime

fingers crossed my gp will have some weight and i can get them to rethink it

Tracey

Tracey - so many of the prescription drugs cause drowsiness. l try to keep off them personally, for leg spasms l find magnesium helps. We need it anyway along with vitd and b12. Magnesium Malate or Glycinate work well and especially at night as they help you sleep. The magnesium oil massaged into joints also helps as our bodies do absorb it well.

Meds like Baclofen/ Tizanidine/Amitriptyline/Clonazepam /Gabapentin - which l have tried in the past, just left me unable to stand and even think straight. Certainly not drive.

My driving licence is so important to me - and l am so glad l am still able to drive.

Our GP’s are too ready to write out prescriptions for drugs that are not helping, only masking, the problems.

l avoid going to the GP - and the Neuro.

I noticed that, and my comment is relevant to me now!

I licence was renewed back in 2012 but I’m now waiting for that one to be renewed. It expired last Feb - yes, nearly a year ago! You can carry on driving if you believe there is no reason you won’t have your licence renewed.

That the thread started in 2012 isn’t an issue, really. Most of the issues are the same though the details of the law may have changed.

I’m not sure what country you reside in, and I’m sure there are no exceptions anyway, but you do realise that driving without a valid licence also invalidates any insurance on the vehicle I suppose?

Apart from the fact if you get caught there are penalty points and huge fines, should there be an accident and someone gets injured or worse, they or their family will get nothing in compensation. I couldn’t live with that on my conscience.