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 that depend on:
Which driving licence you hold
The symptoms you have
Whether you have had a certain treatment
Types of licence
There are different types of driving licenses in the UK which dictate which vehicles you are able to drive.
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.
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 your ability to drive safely) or if you have a device such as a pacemaker or ICD.
With all of the standards, 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 Group 2 vocational driving licence. If you are unsure about what standards apply to you, you can talk to your GP or cardiologist.