Driving requires a level of skill and the ability to interact with both the vehicle and the external environment. Rule 90, 91, 92, 93 and 94 of The Highway Code states the different factors that can affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
Safe driving requires some of the following:
- visuospatial perception
- attention and concentration
- insight and understanding
- adaptive strategies
- good reaction time
- planning and organisation
- ability to self-monitor
- muscle power and control
If a person develops a medical condition that could affect the safety of their driving, they should contact the DVLA as soon as possible. If a driver does not inform the DVLA, they could be fined up to £1,000. The DVLA have listed over 200 medical conditions for which people MAY need to notify them about.
The list below show some examples of conditions in which the DVLA should be informed about:
- An epileptic event (seizure or fit).
- Sudden attacks of disabling giddiness, fainting or blackouts.
- Severe learning disability.
- A pacemaker or implanted defibrillator device fitted.
- Diabetes controlled by insulin or tablets that have a high risk of causing hypoglycaemia
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Any other chronic neurological condition.
- Dementia or a serious problem with memory.
- A major or minor cerebrovascular event (only if there is residual neurological or cognitive deficit one month after the event).
- Multiple transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) over a short period but not single TIA.
- Any type of brain surgery, brain tumour or severe head injury involving inpatient treatment at hospital.
- Any severe psychiatric illness or mental disorder including acute psychosis, mania and severe depressive illness if there are features which affect risk to drive safely or suicidal thoughts.
- Continuing/permanent difficulty in the use of arms or legs which affects your ability to control a vehicle.
- Dependence on or misuse of alcohol, illicit drugs or chemical substances in the previous three years (do not include drink/driving offences).
- Any visual disability which affects BOTH eyes (do not declare short/long sight or colour blindness).
- Narcolepsy or other primary hypersomnia.
See GOV.UK Health Conditions and Driving for a full list of potentially notifiable conditions.
Make sure that you are fit to drive. You MUST report to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) any health condition likely to affect your driving.
Law RTA 1988 sect 94
Driving when you are tired greatly increases your risk of collision. To minimise this risk
- make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good night’s sleep before embarking on a long journey
- avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 am, when natural alertness is at a minimum
- plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended
- if you feel at all sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway
- the most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (at least 15 minutes)
Vision. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres where the old style number plate is used). If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you MUSTwear them at all times while driving. The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.
Slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by bright sunlight.
At night or in poor visibility, do not use tinted glasses, lenses or visors if they restrict your vision.
This article is intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. Newnham & Jordan Solicitors cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article or any external articles it may refer or link to.