Motoring, Medication and The LawPublished on: 21 March 2018
I was recently asked to defend a client for a drug driving offence. He told me he had tested positive for Diazepam which his GP had prescribed him for pain relief, thereby raising the possibility of running the statutory defence.
I eagerly filled out the relevant medical authorities and got him to sign a legal aid application whilst waiting for the CPS to forward us the prosecution papers. The papers arrived….my heart sank…”you didn’t mention the other two charges involving cocaine!”
I was able to persuade the prosecution to drop the Diazepam offence as my client accepted he had no defence to driving under the influence of cocaine…twice!
The dangers of not declaring medical conditions to The DVLA
It got me thinking about medical matters in general when it comes to motoring law.
I read recently that lots of drivers fail to disclose health problems to the DVLA, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
This could lead to a fine of up to £1,000 or possible prosecution if the driver is involved in an accident.
Mostly this is down to driver ignorance that the medical conditions could impact on driving but concerning none the less.
As well as not notifying the DVLA of medical conditions, it seems that drivers also fail to notify their insurer which could not only invalidate the policy but also lead to serious issues if there was an accident.
How to avoid your licence being revoked or refused
The Government have helpfully provided a full list of medical conditions that should be declared on their website. If in doubt, about whether to drive, drivers should speak to their GP.
Voluntarily surrender of a driving licence may mean people can drive again sooner if the medical condition is addressed and a GP declares the driver is fit to drive again.
If however the licence is revoked or refused for medical reasons, the process is more complicated and may mean the licence is never returned.
In summary, it is better to be safe than sorry!