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Eligibility to drive and neurology: the how and the why
  1. Jeremy Rees1,2,
  2. Paul Cooper3,
  3. Garth Cruickshank4,
  4. Nick Jenkins5
  1. 1 Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London, UK
  2. 2 National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  3. 3 Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK
  4. 4 Neurosurgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  5. 5 Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeremy Rees, Neurology, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 3BG, UK; jeremy.rees{at}


Driving is an integral part of adult life and losing a driving licence is potentially a major problem. Many neurological conditions may impact on driving, either by increasing the risk of a sudden disabling event or by affecting cognition, vision, reaction speed, motor coordination, peripheral sensation or visuospatial processing. In the UK, the Drivers Medical Group of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) decides whether an individual’s medical condition meets the appropriate standards for driving. The licensing decision rests with the DVLA and is not at the clinician’s discretion. However, clinicians must inform patients of their legal obligations towards the DVLA and how their neurological symptoms may restrict their driving. We discuss risk assessment, how chronic disabling neurological disease may impact on driving and the general principles of applying medical standards for fitness to drive. We also highlight how legal driving eligibility varies around the world. Finally, we discuss the practical applications relating to a specific case.


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  • Contributors JR drafted the manuscript. PC, GC and NJ all provided relevant input. The authors are all members of the UK DVLA panel, and as such are unable to be contacted about individual cases

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned. Externally peer reviewed by Rhys Thomas, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; Tony Marson, Liverpool, UK; and Andrew Chancellor, Tauranga, New Zealand.

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