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Changes to minimum medical standards for drivers with cardiovascular diseases

Changes to minimum medical standards for drivers with cardiovascular diseases

From 1 January 2018 new minimum medical standards for drivers who have cardiovascular diseases will come into force. This affects both Group 1 and Group 2 (vocational) drivers and is the result of European Commission Directive 2016/1106:


Great Britain’s standards already meet all except two of those in the new directive – Brugada syndrome and Long QT syndrome.  

For vocational drivers we will be revising the D4 Medical Examination Report form to include notification of these conditions. For other drivers they should notify us of cardiovascular conditions in the normal way and we will write to them to get more details.  

All conditions are detailed in the guidance ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive – a Guide for Medical Professionals’ which can be found at the following link:   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assessing-fitness-to-drive-a-guide-for-medical-professionals  

DVLA is currently working with The Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel to transpose requirements into the above guidance document by 1 January 2018. 

Changes will also be incorporated into guidance to reflect the NYHA (New York Heart Association) measurements for heart failure. Other existing standards will not change.    

European Directive Background
  In 2013, a report was published by the European Working Group on Driving and Cardiovascular Diseases as the basis for suggested amendments to the Annex III to Directive 2006/126/EC.  

Annex III lays down the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving. The provisions on cardiovascular diseases were last revised in 1991.  Scientific knowledge on medical conditions which affect fitness to drive has progressed since 2006 in particular the estimation of risks for road safety associated with medical conditions and the effectiveness of treatment averting those risks. The wording in the Directive no longer reflects the latest knowledge on cardiovascular diseases. As a result of the work conducted by the working group, the EU published amending Directive 2016/1106.

The amendment substitutes a new point 9 of the 2006 Directive. The new wording now provides a clear distinction between those cardiovascular diseases where it is permissible to issue a driving licence and those where a licence must not be issued or must be revoked. It achieves this by creating two separate lists. It also provides that in “exceptional cases” a licence may be issued if justified by competent medical opinion and subject to regular medical assessment.