The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has launched a consultation with road safety stakeholders on proposals to extend the validity period of medically restricted driving licences.
Currently the DVLA is permitted to issue a Group 1 driving licence to drivers and motorcyclists on medical grounds for a period of one, two or three years.
The law does not currently allow the DVLA to issue a restricted period licence for longer than three years, even when the health condition indicates that such a frequent review is not necessary.
The DVLA is considering whether to extend the maximum period up to a maximum of 10 years in circumstances “where the medical condition is suitable for this longer review period”. The consultation says that “each case would be assessed individually and on its own merits, thus minimising any road safety risk”.
The DVLA says that in 2011/12 it made licencing decisions on 675,000 cases at a cost of £20m. It estimates that increasing the period for up to 10 years would reduce this number by around 61,000 cases and thus save an estimated £1.8m per annum.
The move would also improve the DVLA’s “ability to provide a fast and responsive service”.
The DVLA also says that “more than three quarters of drivers who re-apply following the expiry of a three-year licence are issued with another licence valid for three years”. It goes on to say that “reviewing a licence every three years may therefore be more often than is needed for many people whose medical condition is likely to change slowly or remain stable”.
The consultation closes on 3 April.