Patient Information Sheet 10 DVLA Notes
Driving and Meningiomas by Elizabeth Hodder, trustee
GPs/Consultants are experts in the field of medicine and you should always listen very carefully to what they have to say so far as your medical condition is concerned.
GPs and consultants are not experts so far as the law is concerned, and neither are they experts in what the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority has to say about the subject of driving for persons who have or had a meningioma.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, particularly amongst the medical profession, about what you can or cannot do and should or should not do when you have been diagnosed with a meningioma and in particular, when you are taking anti-epilepsy medication.
Do not accept at face value what your medical team tell you – check with the DVLA – here is a link to their most recent medical guidance on this issue:
I was diagnosed with a meningioma in April 2009. My experience shows that you should not listen to what your medical advisors say, but you should make your own enquiries, and follow what the DVLA tell you.
If in doubt, be open, honest and upfront with the DVLA. Like everything in life, honesty pays. Here are some top tips:
- Anti-epilepsy drugs
It is NOT correct to say that if you have been on anti-fitting medication, you cannot drive for one year after ceasing taking the medication.
It is correct to say that if you have a fit after ceasing medication, you will not be able to drive usually for 12 months thereafter.
If you cease taking your medication and remain fit-free, providing you have not had a fit for 12 months before that date, you can apply to have your licence reinstated.
GPs AND CONSULTANTS WILL TELL YOU THAT IF YOU CEASE TAKING MEDICATION, YOU MUST NOT DRIVE FOR BETWEEN 6 MONTHS TO 12 MONTHS DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ASK. This is not right. The DVLA will explain this if you ask them. It is in their notes, but it can be daunting to have to plough through a lot of notes to find the particular section that confirms this. Take it from me – I have earned the T-shirt on this.
Look at the appendix:
The DVLA guidance says that the DVLA's medical advisory panel on driving and disorders of the nervous system “.... advises that patients should be advised not to drive from commencement of the period of withdrawal and thereafter for a period of 6 months after cessation of (medication). The panel considers that a person remains as much at risk of seizure associated with drug withdrawal during the period of withdrawal as in the 6 months after withdrawal.”
You will note that it is not mandatory that you cease driving when you stop taking medication.
As with anything involving medicine, things change as time goes on. The DVLA guidelines will change as time goes on.
In the short period of time that I was affected by the loss of a driving licence, the medical guidelines changed significantly.
It is NOT the case that the minute you have a seizure you must stop driving for 12 months. You may only need to cease driving for 6 months.
The cardinal rule is:
- If you have a seizure, you must tell the DVLA.
- Consider voluntarily surrendering your licence. If you do so, you will get it back quicker than if your licence is taken away because you have not been upfront with the DVLA.
- If you are unable to drive at the moment because you do not qualify, check the DVLA guidelines every few months. They may change and that change may benefit you. No one will tell you about it. You have to find it out for yourself.
- Access to Work
The government’s Access to Work scheme can help you if your health or disability affects the way you do your job. Access to Work might pay towards a support worker or the equipment you need at work. It can also pay towards the cost of getting to work if you cannot use public transport.
Who can get Access to Work
You may be able to get Access to Work if you're:
· in a paid job
· unemployed and about to start a job
· unemployed and about to start a Work Trial
Get a letter for your employer about your Access to Work support
You can also apply for Access to Work if you're self employed.
- Bus Passes
Get a bus pass – If you are medically unable to drive, you should qualify for a bus pass. I did. Some Local Authorities will give you a pass which will be unrestricted, e.g. you can use it during rush hour. These days most Local Authorities give you a bus pass restricted to off-peak travel. Even that is better than nothing at all.