Telling your licensing agency you have Parkinson's

There are many people who continue to drive after they are diagnosed with Parkinson's. Having the condition doesn’t necessarily mean that your licence will be affected, but there are some things you need to do if you would like to continue driving and stay safe on the roads.  

Telling your licensing agency you have Parkinson's

When you are diagnosed with Parkinson's, you must tell your licensing agency straight away. This is a legal requirement.

  • ​the DVLA in England, Scotland and Wales, or 
  • ​the DVA in Northern Ireland 
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Your GP or specialist has no legal duty to tell the licensing agency about your Parkinson’s. But they may contact the licensing agency if they have told you to stop driving and they don’t think you have. In this case, the General Medical Council advises that a doctor must inform the licensing agency. 

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Yes. It is very important to let your insurance company know of any change in your health that may affect your ability to drive. It is a criminal offence to make a false statement or to withhold information in order to get motor insurance. It may also make your existing policy invalid.

You must also tell your insurance company about any adaptations you make to your vehicle.

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You have a legal duty to tell your licensing agency about a condition that might affect you being able to drive safely. This means even if you have not been told you definitely have Parkinson’s, you should still tell your licensing agency if you are having symptoms that may affect your driving. 

They will usually ask you for more information and speak to your specialist before making a decision about you being able to drive.   
 

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To decide whether you’re fit enough to drive, the licensing agency will need to find out more about your condition. You will be asked to complete the PK1 ‘Medical Fitness to Drive’ form for car and motorcycle licences or PK1V for bus, coach and lorry licences in England, Scotland or Wales (available from Drivers Medical Group, DVLA). In Northern Ireland, you need to complete a DL1 form (available from Drivers Medical Section, DVA).  

Car or motorcycle licence holders in England, Scotland and Wales can also tell the DVLA online

Waiting for a decision can sometimes be a lengthy process, but you can usually continue to drive, as long as your GP or specialist feels you are well enough. You must not drive if you are told not to by your licensing agency or your GP or specialist. 

The licensing agency may be able to make their decision from the information you give them. But if they need more information, the licensing agency will write to your GP or specialist. 

You may also be asked to go for a medical examination that will usually be with your own GP or specialist.  

The medical examination will be arranged to take place as near as possible to your home. It is free of charge, but you will have to pay your own travel costs.

If you hold a HGV licence, you must tell your licensing agency if you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s. You will be asked to provide details about your condition and they will ask your GP or specialist to complete a medical report. You may also be asked to do a driving assessment. If you are issued with a licence, it may be reviewed every year. 

What happens if I am asked to attend a driving assessment?

In a small number of cases, you may be asked to complete a driving assessment. 

This may be at a mobility centre or at a Driving Standards Agency Test Centre. 

At the assessment, trained staff will consider how your condition affects your driving. They also examine your vision, how quickly you are able to react to situations and your physical ability to operate the controls safely during a drive with an assessor.   

Depending on your needs, an assessor may recommend adaptations to your vehicle that will help you to keep you driving safely. 

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Once the licensing agency has assessed your ability to drive, it will decide if:

  • you can have or keep your licence without any restriction
  • you can have a short licence (usually valid for one, two or three years). This decision is reviewed when the licence runs out. You may not be allowed to drive a minibus unless you can meet the medical standards, which are higher than for an ordinary car licence
  • you must stop driving and give up your licence
  • your licence should be restricted to particular vehicles with adaptations

If the licensing agency decides you cannot have a licence, it will give you a medical reason why, as well as details of if and when you can reapply. It will also return any fees sent with the application form.

If your licence is refused or taken away for medical reasons and you then become well enough to drive again, you can reapply for your licence. Check with your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse that you can meet the medical standards for driving before reapplying. If the licensing agency decides you can drive after their enquiries, you will be issued with a new licence.

If you have been told that you must adapt your car, you can get an independent assessment of your needs through a mobility centre.

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If you want the licensing agency to reconsider its decision because you feel they have misinterpreted or misunderstood the information about your condition, you should contact them explaining why you feel the decision is wrong.

The licensing agency can look at its decision again, but will expect you to provide fresh medical evidence. You may need to ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who can provide this in a letter, and you may have to pay for it.

If the licensing agency does not change its decision, you can appeal to the Magistrates’ Court in England and Wales, the Sheriff Court in Scotland or to Petty Sessions in Northern Ireland. 

The appeal must be made to the Magistrates’ Court within six months, within 21 days to the Sheriff Court and within three months to the Clerk of Petty Sessions, from the date your licence was taken away or refused. You must tell the licensing authority that you plan to appeal.

Making your appeal

The Magistrates’ Court, Sheriff Court or Petty Sessions have the power to examine your case and to change the licensing agency’s decision, if appropriate.

A licensing agency doctor will attend the hearing as a witness and the licensing agency will be represented by a barrister. Normally, the court can only look at existing evidence and cannot consider any new evidence. If new medical evidence is available, it’s best if you forward this information to the licensing agency for consideration out of court.

If you are considering going to court, you should think about getting legal advice. You can get free advice from the Disability Law Service or Disabled Motoring UK

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Licensing laws in Jersey and Guernsey are almost the same as in the rest of the UK. The main differences are shown below.

Jersey

You have to tell Driver and Vehicle Standards if you have a medical condition that may affect your driving. 

The application form for a licence contains a medical section. If you answer yes to any of the questions about an existing medical condition then a medical form will be sent out to you. Take the form to your GP or specialist to complete and sign, then return the form to your parish hall. 

If you have any restrictions due to a medical condition, this will be printed on your driving licence. 

Guernsey

In Guernsey, you have to tell Driver and Vehicle Licensing if you have any disability or illness that may affect your driving. 

You need to fill in a medical report form that has to be signed by your GP or specialist. If you have an existing medical condition, you must renew your licence every 5 years. 

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Last updated October 2019. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]