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ADHD & Driving
We get a number of people contacting us about the issue of driving in the UK and if there are any specific guidelines from DVLA on this.
We have checked out the DVLA Website at http://www.dvla.gov.uk where you can read the full regulations regarding Psychiatric Disorders. You can also Click Here read the PDA document for DVLA Medical Fittness To Drive We have also put relevant parts below. ADHD is specifically mentioned so we would suggest that people contact the DVLA direct for advice on personal matters along with their own doctor.
We have added some of the relevant parts of this below but please check out the full guidleines on the DVLA website.
What you need to do is to speak to your Doctor who will have full copies of DVLA Guidelines and ask them to complete any necessary forms which need to be sent to the DVLA. It must be noted however that at the bottom of this page we do give the Guidelines direction for CONFIDENTIALITY, a doctor is obliged to inform DVLA if in thier judgement it is unsafe for a patient to drive. Therefore it is really important to talk things through carefully with your Doctor and explore all the options before applying for a licence or notifying the DVLA of any diagnosis after a licence has already been granted. It is better if the individual contacts the DVLA direct than to find that the Doctor has had to do this for them as more assisstance can be given if the individual has been open aobut their diagnosis.
It is not only issues surrounding the DVLA which need to be considered when driving with ADHD - there are also issues surrounding Insurance. You will need to speak to your Insurance Company espeically if you are on medicaiton but also on the general level as any medical condition is deemed notifiable. If you have not spoken to the Insurance Company and have an accident you may find your insurance will not cover you. Check out our What about Accommodations for a Driving Test? for more details on where to find help about Insurance.
The applicant or licence holder must notify DVLA unless stated otherwise in the text
The DVLA do say "These guidelines are intended for use by doctors. If you are not medically qualified, please consult your doctor about these guidelines and fitness to drive".
BEHAVIOUR DISORDERS (including post head injury syndrome, psychopathic disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Non-Epileptic Seizure Disorder)
If seriously disturbed e.g. violent behaviour or alcohol abuse and likely to be a source of danger at the wheel, licence would be revoked or the application refused. Licence will be issued after medical reports confirm that behavioural disturbances have been satisfactorily controlled.
Recommended refusal or revocation if associated with serious behaviour disturbance likely to make the individual be a source of danger at the wheel. If psychiatric reports confirm stability, then consideration would be given to restoration of the licence.
LEARNING DISABILITY means a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning.
Severe learning disability is not compatible with driving and the licence application must be refused. In milder forms, provided there are no other relevant problems, it may be possible to hold a licence, but it will be necessary to demonstrate adequate functional ability at the wheel.
Recommended permanent refusal or revocation if severe. Minor degrees of learning disability when the condition is stable with no medical or psychiatric complications may be compatible with the holding of a licence.
· The 2nd EC Directive requires member states to set minimum medical standards of fitness to drive and sets out the requirements for mental health in broad terms.
· The Directive makes a clear distinction between the standards needed for Group 1 (cars and motorcycles) and Group 2 (lorries and buses) licences, the standards for the latter being more stringent due to the size of vehicle and the greater time spent at the wheel during the course of the occupation.
· Severe mental disorder is a prescribed disability for the purposes of Section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Regulations define "severe mental disorder" as including mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of the mind, psychopathic disorder or severe impairment of intelligence or social functioning. The standards must reflect, not only the need for an improvement in the mental state, but also a period of stability, such that the risk of relapse can be assessed should the patient fail to recognise any deterioration.
· Misuse of or dependency on alcohol or drugs will require the standards in this chapter to be considered in conjunction with those of Chapter 5 of this publication.
· Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 does not differentiate between illicit or prescribed drugs. Therefore, any person who is driving or attempting to drive on the public highway, or other public place whilst unfit due to any drug, is liable to prosecution.
· All drugs acting on the central nervous system can impair alertness, concentration and driving performance. This is particularly so at initiation of treatment, or soon after and when dosage is being increased. Driving must cease if adversely affected.
· The older tricyclic antidepressants can have pronounced anticholinergic and antihistaminic effects, which may impair driving. The more modern antidepressants may have fewer adverse effects. These considerations need to be taken into account when planning the treatment of a patient who is a professional driver.
· Anti-psychotic drugs, including the depot preparations, can cause motor or extrapyramidal effects as well as sedation or poor concentration, which may, either alone or in combination, be sufficient to impair driving. Careful clinical assessment is required.
· The epileptogenic potential of psychotropic medication should be considered particularly when patients are professional drivers.
· Benzodiazepines are the most likely psychotropic medication to impair driving performance, particularly the long acting compounds. Alcohol will potentiate the effects.
· Doctors have a duty of care to advise their patients of the potential dangers of adverse effects from medication and interactions with other substances, especially alcohol.
· Drivers with psychiatric illnesses are often safer when well and on regular psychotropic medication than when they are ill. Inadequate treatment or irregular compliance may render a driver impaired by both the illness and medication.
When a patient has a condition which makes driving unsafe and the patient is either unable to appreciate this, or refuses to cease driving, GMC guidelines advise breaking confidentiality and informing DVLA. [GMC Confidentiality Handbook]
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