Could your eyesight be invalidating your driving licence?

Failing to disclose a medical condition which affects your ability to drive to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) could invalidate both your driving licence and your car insurance  – but a large number of drivers don’t realise they need to.

In 2015, analysis by Direct Line car Insurance revealed roughly 3.4 million drivers in England and Wales failed to disclose relevant medical conditions to the DVLA.

This is often because they believe it has no effect on their driving.


You must tell the DVLA if you have driving license and:

  • You develop a notifiable medical condition or disability
  • You have a condition or disability that has worsened since you got your licence


Which conditions count?

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely, including epilepsy, strokes, neurological and mental health conditions, physical disabilities or visual impairments.

Some of the most common medical conditions suffered by drivers in England and Wales include heart conditions, mini strokes, diabetes, brain conditions and visual impairments.


Yes, bad eyesight can be serious enough to report

In 2015, 64 people were killed or seriously injured due to drivers with poor eyesight.

Reading a number plate from 20 feet away is a requirement of passing the practical driving test, but while regular eye tests are advised, they aren’t enforced – meaning a drivers’ eyesight could deteriorate significantly without the DVLA being made aware.

Direct Line’s research showed 37% of drivers hadn’t taken an eye test in two years or more.

Needing low to medium-strength glasses is incredibly common, and doesn’t need to be reported – but remember, if you don’t meet the minimum eyesight standard for driving without glasses or contacts, driving without them is illegal. In a crash, your insurance would also be invalid and you could face a fine of £1,000 or prison.


Will DVLA take my licence off me if I report a condition?

Not necessarily – the DVLA will simply assess your medical condition or disability and ability to continue driving. They can only temporarily or permanently remove a licence with a medical reason, but other options include modifying your car, or issuing a shorter licence to be reviewed in one, three or five years.