The DVLA and driving standards

  • The DVLA sets the medical standards that drivers need to meet in order to hold a driving licence. 
  • There are specific medical standards for people with cardiomyopathy, those with particular symptoms, and those with particular medical devices.

The DVLA (driver and vehicle licensing agency) is the body that licenses cars and drivers in Great Britain, and sets the medical standards for drivers. If you are a driver the law says that you must tell the DVLA about any medical condition that may affect your ability to drive. This is a requirement of holding a driving licence.

The DVLA has specific standards for people with heart conditions which depend on what driving
licence you hold, your condition, the symptoms you have and whether you have certain treatment.
Visit www.gov.uk and search for ‘Car or motorcycle drivers with heart conditions’.

Some cardiomyopathies have their own specific driving standards. There are additional standards to
meet if you experience particular symptoms (such as those related to arrhythmia or heart failure, for
example palpitations, dizziness, loss of consciousness or other symptoms which affect safe driving) or if you have devices (such as a pacemaker or ICD).

With all of the standards below, where you can carry on driving, this is as long as there is no other reason why you cannot drive (such as any other medical conditions that have their own driving standards to meet and where you may have to tell the DVLA). 

The standards will either mean:
• you do not need to stop driving or tell the DVLA;
• you need to stop driving and tell the DVLA; or
• you do not need to notify the DVLA although you need to stop driving for a specified length of time.
In some cases, you will not be able to hold a vocational driving licence (where a condition is a bar to having a vocational licence). 

If you are unsure about what standards apply to you, you can talk to your GP or cardiologist.

Types of licence

  • Group 1 licence: also known as an ‘ordinary driving licence’, this is for cars, motorcycles and mopeds.
  • Group 2 licence: also known as a ‘vocational licence’, this is for large goods vehicles (lorries), passenger carrying vehicles (buses) and horse boxes.

Further information or queries

If you have any queries about the driving standards and how they apply to you, you might like to talk to your GP or cardiologist about whether your condition affects your ability to drive.

The information on these pages comes from the GOV website (opens new window) and the DVLA guidelines for medical professionals (‘Assessing fitness to drive – a guide for medical professionals' (opens new window). 

Important note

Where you can continue to drive but must tell the DVLA, you should only drive if your doctor (GP or cardiologist) advises that you can, while the DVLA assess your case. The DVLA will make the final licensing decision based on this assessment. 

Cardiomyopathy UK is grateful to Dr A S Kumar, Cardiovascular Panel secretary, Medical Adviser, DVLA
for helping to checking the accuracy of this factsheet.

Please note: for driving regulations in Northern Ireland please contact the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) Northern Ireland (opens new window).

© Cardiomyopathy UK April 2017

Group 1 licences

Information about group 1 licence standards

Find out more

Group 2 licences

Information about group 2 licence standards

Find out more