DVLA looks into whether elderly drivers should pay for medical driving licence checks

Elderly drivers may soon be forced to pay to complete medical assessments to keep their driving licence.

Although the DVLA has not laid out a formal proposal to change the rules for drivers with medical conditions, they have asked members of the public for feedback.

The DVLA currently covers medical queries for all drivers but costs have almost doubled over the last decade.

Elderly drivers are the most affected road users with much of the DVLA’s casework affecting those between the ages of 60-69 and 70-79.

It has left officials to ask motorists whether the system should be changed through a simple consultation.

The DVLA has queried whether costs associated with medical investigations should be “paid by taxpayers and the DVLA”.

Officials have also asked road users whether it would be “appropriate for the individual customer to pay for medical investigations”.

The questions were detailed in a DVLA call for evidence regarding driving licensing for people with medical conditions.

The report reads: “Completing DVLA’s medical questionnaires is not part of the NHS contract so DVLA pays NHS healthcare professionals for completing each questionnaire… The law provides that DVLA shall pay any fees associated with medical investigations.

“This includes paying a fee for the completion of each medical condition specific questionnaire, eyesight tests, drugs and alcohol screening tests (unless under HRO legislation) and examinations.

“This reflects not only an increasing number of drivers with multiple health conditions but the complexity of those conditions.”

A chart clearly shows how processing costs have dramatically increased since 2010. In 2015, the DVLA was spending around £15million on medical investigations with a bumper rise in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Spending averaged out for 2018-19 but rose again the following year ahead of the pandemic. It means the total costs of sorting out medical applications will soon be pushing £25million per annum.

The report added: “The costs associated with gathering information to assess if an individual can meet the appropriate medical standards for driving has almost doubled in the last 10 years, from approximately £10million to around £20million per year.”

Anyone can have their say on the issue until the consultation closes on October 22.

Evidence can be submitted online through the DVLA’s Snap Survey system or posted to their headquarters in Swansea.

source: express.co.uk