There is no such specific research. However, the Department’s annual report “Road Casualties Great Britain” has since 2005 included information on factors that, in the opinion of the reporting officer, may have contributed to a crash. Included in the list of factors that can be reported are “uncorrected, defective eyesight” and “illness or disability, mental or physical”. The figures reported are:
Fatal accidents Serious accidents Slight accidents All Uncorrected, defective eyesight 2005 10 35 181 226 2006 4 47 158 209 2007 5 41 161 207 Illness or disability, mental or physical 2005 89 380 1316 1785 2006 75 393 1,379 1,847 2007 93 345 1,369 1,807
Uncorrected, defective eyesight
Illness or disability, mental or physical
There is no information on how many of these cases involved drivers who should not have had a licence due to their health or eyesight.
We are currently reviewing the procedures by which health issues are addressed in the driver licensing system. However, all drivers have a duty to ensure they are fit to drive before doing so.
Where DVLA receives sufficient evidence of a relevant disability the driving licence can be revoked immediately.
There are procedures in place for police forces to inform DVLA where they suspect that a driver is: suffering from a medical condition affecting their fitness to drive. This is not dependent on whether or not a decision is made to prosecute the driver for any related road traffic offence. Where sufficient evidence is not provided immediately, an investigation will be conducted and, if the individual is assessed as unfit to drive, the licence is revoked. There are currently no proposals to change this approach.
While there is no legal obligation on doctors to notify DVLA, they do have a duty of care, not only to their patient but also to the general public. On this basis, they do have an obligation to report to DVLA instances where they consider a patient unfit to drive.
The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued guidelines to the effect that doctors should inform DVLA about unfit patients who they have advised should notify DVLA, but have failed to act on that advice.
There is no proposal to change this position.