In many cases, a person’s licence group entitlement will determine whether the DVLA should be notified of their heart problem.
Bus, Coach and Lorry drivers (Group 2 Licence holders)
Those who hold entitlement to drive a bus, coach or lorry will almost always need to inform the DVLA of any heart problems. This is due to the perceived greater risk which they could pose to themselves and to the public when driving much larger and potentially more dangerous vehicles, and also because these drivers typically spend more time behind the wheel. The specific heart problem VOCH1 form should be used in these circumstances.
Car and motorbike drivers (Group 1 Licence holders)
For a number of heart problems, those who simply hold a car or motorbike licence need not inform the DVLA of their condition.
For example, those who have had a Heart attack, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Coronary angioplasty or who have Heart valve disease/surgery, or Angina will not necessarily need to inform the DVLA. There are typically periods when motorists are advised not to drive; however following this period driving can be resumed when it is deemed that the person can safely control their motor vehicle again and after checking with their GP that they are fit enough to do so.
If however a person’s condition could present physical symptoms which could cause a risk to the driver and any other road users, such as heart rhythm related issues e.g. arrhythmia/ heart palpitations/ tachycardia/pacemakers, then they will be required to notify the DVLA who can decide if further action needs to be taken. Other notifiable heart conditions relating to all drivers include Congenital heart disease, Marfan syndrome and Wolf Parkinson white syndrome. In these cases, holders of Group 1 licences should use the H1 form.
Need further information?
In any case where a driver is unsure whether to notify the DVLA about their heart condition, there are a number of resources available to assist them:
- Obtain advice from your GP
- Check the government website: gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving.
- Contact the DVLA helpline on 0300 790 6806
Always monitor whether your hear condition could affect your driving and do not drive unless it is safe to do so.
Copies of the forms referred to in this article can be found here:
Remember, failing to inform the DVLA of a relevant condition could result in a fine of up to £1000. If it is proven that you have driven after failing to notify the DVLA of a relevant condition you could face 3-6 penalty points on your driving licence.
Written by Expert Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth: Head of Motoring Law at Forster Dean Solicitorsbritish heart foundation, disabled driving, medical conditions