DVLA and “Fit to Drive”: Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988

During COVID many drivers’ licences have expired and DVLA gave extensions so that they could continue to drive and work. For many drivers though this extension is coming to an end. Drivers are now being told by DVLA to ask their GP if they are “fit to drive” so that they can continue to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). DVLA has produced a leaflet which explains RTA 1988.

Most GPs are not confident to advise patients whether or not they are fit to drive, and in normal circumstances we would provide a factual report for DVLA so that their expert medical advisers can decide upon fitness. If we provide an opinion that someone is fit, and then an accident occurs, are we liable? If we say a patient is not fit, then this can adversely affect both patient wellbeing and our long term relationship with that patient.

For these reasons, we have been advised if our GPs have any doubt about whether a person is fit to drive, it is reasonable to decline to provide this assurance. As GP’s it is not our place to provide an opinion as to an individual’s fitness to drive per se, but we may offer to provide factual information about a patient’s health, with their consent.

If a GP chooses to produce a bespoke report prepared for the patient to be sent to the DVLA on their behalf, a reasonable fee will be charged as this is not NHS work.

Alternatively we are happy to give you a summary of your medical record, which should help the DVLA to make a decision.