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The little-known medical conditions which could land you a £1,000 fine behind the wheel

West Yorkshire Police seizing a car. Photo: West Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Police seizing a car. Photo: West Yorkshire Police
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Drivers are being warned that they could leave themselves open to fines and prosecution if they don’t inform the authorities of health problems.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) requires motorists to inform it if they suffer from any of the medical conditions on its notifiable conditions list.

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But an estimated one million drivers are on the road with conditions they should, but haven’t, told the DVLA about.

While some of them are obvious, drivers are being urged to be aware of lesser-known conditions that could land them in trouble.

If you don’t tell the DVLA about a medical condition which might affect your driving you could be hit with a £1,000 fine.

If you’re involved in an accident because of your condition you could also face prosecution.

Some conditions seem obvious – a traumatic brain injury, suffering from convulsions or seizures, problems with your sight or alcoholism – but others are not so clear cut and with the DVLA list running to nearly 200 it’s worth checking if any of your health problems are on there.

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Safety concerns

To highlight just how complex the DVLA list is, Leasecar.uk’s motoring team has come up with a list of some of the more unexpected conditions that could affect your ability to drive.

A spokesman for the firm said: “If you suffer a broken limb or severe head injury that affects your memory or ability to perform everyday tasks, you’re probably not going to be able to operate a vehicle safely either.

“In these cases, it seems obvious that you’d have to let the DVLA know about it.

“There are some conditions however, that seem too unrelated to even consider spending the time to fill out a form to tell the DVLA about.

“These are the kind of conditions we’ve listed, to try and inform drivers and hopefully help many stay safe and avoid any fines – or even prosecution.”

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Deja Vu

Surprisingly, GOV.UK lists déjà vu as one of the health conditions that could affect your driving.

Whilst most people will regard déjà vu as a common experience in healthy individuals, it is also associated with certain types of epilepsy – this experience of déjà vu is a neurological anomaly related to epileptic electrical discharge in the brain.

It is this medically induced déjà vu you need to inform the DVLA about.

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is a common inner ear infection that causes a delicate structure deep inside your ear (the labyrinth) to become inflamed.

Symptoms can vary in severity, but usually get better after a few weeks.

They can include mild headaches, some hearing loss, ear pain and vertigo.

However, in some cases the symptoms can last longer and have a significant impact on your ability to carry out everyday tasks, so you should let the DVLA know.

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.

This may lead to regularly interrupted sleep, which can have a big impact on your quality of life, increase the risk of developing certain conditions, and even cause you to fall asleep at the wheel which is incredibly dangerous.

It’s in these severe cases that you should get in contact with your GP/consultant for further advice and consider informing the DVLA.

Eating Disorders

Having an unhealthy attitude to food doesn’t seem like something that could affect your driving ability straight off the bat, yet there are severe cases that cause horrible side effects like being weak and dizzy. You must tell the DVLA if you suffer from an eating disorder (e.g. anorexia nervosa) and it affects your ability to drive safely. Speak to your doctor is you are unsure.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint, with around 10 million people suffering from it across the UK. It can affect people of all ages, including children, and as the most commonly affected joints are those in the hands, spine, knees and hips – which obviously you all need full use of to be able to sit in a car and drive safely – so you should tell the DVLA if your condition affects your driving and has lasted more than three months.