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Parissa Seerani, paralegal at Minster Law, tells us how you and your driving licence can be impacted following a head injury.

Unfortunately, there are many cases of head injuries sustained daily, but how does this impact those who hold a provisional or full driving licence?

As you would expect, when you accept the terms and conditions when applying for your licence, if you subsequently develop any health conditions, sustain any serious injuries, or have any surgery, you have a duty to disclose this to the DVLA. So how does a head injury specifically impact you holding a licence?

Firstly, a medical professional, such as your doctor, would of course provide their opinion and advice as to whether they consider you  capable of functioning and driving a motor vehicle. If you aren’t considered suitable, then you cannot return to driving until you have recovered from your injury and symptoms and have been reassessed as fit to drive again. This of course is taken into serious consideration to keep you, along with other road users and pedestrians, safe on the road.

After sustaining a head injury, depending on the severity of the injury, it may be investigated further if the injury has also affected the brain, field vision, sight etc. Symptoms such as visual and hearing impairments, co-ordination, weakness, dizziness, slow reactions, loss of concentration, fatigue  (the list goes on), are carefully considered prior to you being cleared by a medical professional to becoming a road user again.

So, if you have sustained a head injury and you are deemed not fit to drive a motor vehicle, how do you inform the DVLA, and what happens next?

You complete a Form B1 for a car or motorcycle licence, or Form B1V for a bus, coach, or lorry licence, and send the form to the DVLA.

Once you have done this, a trained medical advisor would review this and decide whether you are fit to drive. They’ll determine whether you need to get a new licence, require adaptations, if an assessment is needed, or if you are to surrender your licence all together. The DVLA will usually respond with their decision within six weeks.

If the DVLA have revoked your licence due to the head injury and you are eligible to re-apply, you may reapply eight weeks before the end of the time provided in the letter from the DVLA. To reapply, you will simply complete a D1 application, along with the B1 or B1V Form and send this to the DVLA.

If the DVLA require you to surrender your licence, you have to complete a declaration of surrender for medical reasons (for car and motorcycle licences) or a VOC99/CERT (for bus, coach, or lorry licences), and return this to the DVLA.

Will there be consequences if you don’t disclose your head injury to the DVLA?

Yes, you can be fined up to £1,000 for non-disclosure. Also, if you have been involved in an accident, you may be prosecuted due to non-disclosure. It is worth noting that if the injury has not been disclosed to the DVLA and your vehicle insurance company, your insurance policy will be classed as void.

It is a legal requirement to disclose your injury to the DVLA. If you are reluctant to disclose your injury to the DVLA, and your doctor is concerned for public safety because of your inability to drive, they may disclose your injury to the DVLA on your behalf.

It is common for someone who has sustained a head injury to be worried about disclosing the injury to the DVLA. There are organisations recommended on www.gov.uk, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and I Am Road Smart, where you can have your driving assessed in a confidential and objective test. However, it would not be recommended to disregard any opinions or recommendations from a medical expert.

If you have unfortunately sustained a head injury, be safe, don’t put yourself and others at risk by returning as a road user before obtaining medical clearance. Avoid putting yourself at risk of potential legal consequences. Inform the DVLA and keep up to date with medical professionals.