The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) is trialling a new system to make renewing a driving licence quicker for people with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS).
The DVLA is piloting a new way to streamline the process of renewing a short period medical review driving licence. These are licences issued for a shorter period than standard, which need to be reviewed more often due to a medical condition.
Currently, renewing a short period medical review licence involves filling out a questionnaire and the DVLA making medical enquiries to clinicians before issuing the new licence. In the new trial process, if the answers in the questionnaire don’t show a cause for concern, the DVLA won’t make a medical enquiry. Instead the person renewing their licence will receive a phone call with some additional questions. They will then be asked to agree to a declaration confirming that all the information they have supplied is correct, and their licence will be issued.
This approach will avoid delays from having to contact clinicians to confirm the information and will reduce the burden on medical professionals.
However, in circumstances where an answer in the questionnaire is of concern, the usual process will be followed, and a clinician will be contacted for further information.
Most people can continue driving while their licence is being renewed.
This process does not include reapplying for a licence after it has been surrendered or revoked due to a seizure. When a person meets the DVLA’s rules for reapplying for their licence (usually being a year seizure-free), they will have to follow the current process for this.
Daniel Jennings, senior policy and campaigns officer at Epilepsy Action, said: “We are pleased that epilepsy has been included in the DVLA’s pilot for drivers who are renewing a short period medical review driving licence. We know that driving is an important issue for people with epilepsy, and is one of the main topics people contact our helpline about.
“This new process will speed up the renewal process for people with epilepsy, while also reducing the burden on clinicians at this important time.
“People who have applied to renew their licence should be aware that they may be called by a DVLA caseworker, but they will not be asked for any financial information.”
If the DVLA is happy with the results of the process being trialled, it will adopt it for future renewals of short period medical review driving licences.