Do you think ME/CFS should be a notifiable medical condition with the DVLA?
Should people with ME/CFS notify the DVLA that they are still driving?
Firstly, I think it's important to point out that people with ME/CFS have a number of symptoms – muscle fatigue/weakness, cognitive dysfunction and visual disturbances in particular – that can affect the ability to safely drive a car. And whilst a significant number do stop driving as a result, there are others who should not be driving – even on an occasional basis. So this is clearly an area of personal responsibility where you have to consider not only your own safety but that of people who may be with you in the car, as well as any other road user. This is something you should discuss with your GP – who should be used to dealing with queries relating to medical problems and fitness to drive.
Secondly, in relation to insurance, it's important to check the small print in the policy where it refers to medical conditions. You will almost certainly find that you are obliged to inform the insurer of any condition that could affect your ability to drive – or words to that effect. This would obviously include ME/CFS. Failure to provide an insurer with this type of information could invalidate your policy, especially if a claim results from something that could be linked to your medical condition.
Thirdly, the DLVA produces very comprehensive guidance on medical conditions and fitness to drive. Ordinary UK driving licenses issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) state: ‘You are required by law to inform Drivers Medical Branch, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AT at once if you have any disability (either physical or medical condition) which is, or may become, likely to affect your fitness as a driver, unless you do not expect it to last more than three months.'
It is the responsibility of the driver to inform the DVLA. It is also the responsibility of doctors to advise patients that medical conditions (and drugs) may affect their ability to drive and for which conditions patients should inform the DVLA.
The DVLA issues very specific guidance on a large number of named conditions and in some situations (eg epilepsy) includes restrictions on the ability to drive. Interestingly, ME/CFS is not included in this list. However, problems such as excessive sleepiness, cognitive dysfunction (eg where this is affecting visual attention, easy distractability, ability to multitask) and medication (eg antidepressants) are covered.
Detailed information on fitness to drive from the DLVA can be downloaded from the DVLA website: https://www.gov.uk/driving-medical-conditions…
A website blog which may be of interest: A note about this month's straw poll on car driving and ME/CFS | 2 August 2015 – The ME Association
Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.