Sleep Apnoea (SA) and DVLA Notification ******

*** Important - The Law has changed. ***

When I saw my Sleep Apnoea (SA) Consultant recently one of the things that she specifically said about (and handed out a leaflet) is that since I saw her in August last year was that the law had changed with regard to notification of SA. She also included a whole paragraph in the letter to my GP.

Now if you have ANY form of SA (even very mild and even if you have not had any treatment) you must notify the DVLA and your insurance company. I found it as Form SL1 online at Apparently the DVLA will always write to the SA consultant for confirmation of SA and I have just received my letter back confirming that they have written to her. According to the DVLA leaflet she have me up to to 1/5 (one fifth) of accidents on motorways and other monotonous roads may be caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

My interpretation from what she said, from the DVLA website and others is that if you have ever had it you need to notify DVLA.

She said that the SA Association and Consultants have put in objections and hope to get this reversed at some stage so that mild and very mild SA does not need to be notified but for now everyone is stuck with it!!!

7 Replies

  • Thanks for this information Peter. My uncle has sleep apnoea I will let him know this.

  • About 3 weeks ago my goddaughter, who is very overweight, went to see her GP complaining of extreme tiredness. She was immediately diagnosed with sleep apnea and stopped from driving. Urgent referral to a Consultant resulted in her being equipped with an oxygen mask to wear at night. Within a week her O2 levels were corrected and her driving licence was restored a week later.

    She did tell me that the GP had said that drivers with SA were 5x more likely to have an accident.

    PS her Godmother's advice to lose weight was badly received even though I explained that weight brought on AF too.

  • Lucky to gat your license back quickly. It took 4 months from my consultant clearing me for driving before I got mine back. They gave me the same form to fill in three times.... No errors on them, just their left hand not knowing what right hand was doing. There must be a less complicated way. Having said that, it is very necessary to get sleep apnoea sufferers off the road until treated.

  • I had no problem with DVLA and SA as it was the 3rd condition I had to declare - AF, Myasthenia gravis and SA - the SA was the easiest and yes they wrote to my Pulmonologist and yes the consultants don't like it because it means more admin for them and if SA is treated then usually there isn't a problem, it is is the untreated SA which is the problem - those unknown, unknowns!

    My license in now on 3 yearly renewal. It took me 8 months to regain my licence after Mg diagnosis and I had to have medical and eye test, which was a pain, but I wouldn't have thought of driving anyway as it affected my eyes so badly.

    Makes you think of how many people just are not fit to drive but do anyway! I would much rather have some checks and have inconvenience of a few months not driving and be safer.

    Good reminder as not everyone knows or thinks about these things!

  • Well I hadn't seen anything about the changes and most days I read a newspaper.

  • Not sure whether there is a change here for reporting OSA.

    I had OSA for many years and used a CPAP machine. I was declared free of SA a year ago, but never reported to DVLA (after much research into this issue)

    I cannot see a specific change in the rules, but looking at the current form, the question of reporting to DVLA still seems to hinge on two things

    """"Obstructive sleep apnoea and driving

    You must tell DVLA if you have:

    1) obstructive sleep apnoea which affects your ability to drive safely

    2) obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome""""

    Regarding 1) - I had OSA, but because I used a CPAP machine, it meant I did not suffer from daytime sleepiness.

    Regarding 2) - I was not diagnosed with OSA Syndrome.

    So I did not fall within the requirement to report to the DVLA.

    Furthermore, looking at the current questionaire that you fill in, it gives 3 options:

    "Please confirm which condition you have been diagnosed with

    a) Narcolepsy

    b) Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome

    c) Other

    I'd have thought that if they'd changed the requirement to include mild OSA, then they would have included it as an option. But they just mention OSA Syndrome - exactly the same as I recall from years ago.

    I discussed this with Papworth Hospital at the time and they said they were not aware of the wording of the DVLA form - they just knew of a requirement to report SA "in general". (Bearing in mind that health professionals will naturally err on the side of caution).

  • Sorry but you are wrong. The guidelines do not distinguish between the grade of SA. In fact the current form specifically refers to MILD OSAS. The consultant advised me that the Sleep Apnoea Association has withdrawn its advice re grades of SA and whether or not people have to notify DVLA as a result of the changes.

    My consultant says there have been representations made to the DVLA to get this changed back to what it was in 2015. She was very clear that the new ruling is unambiguous and the requirement was very clearly stated in the letter sent to my GP and copied to me.

    This change is causing the consultants a lot of additional work because apparently (unlike some other medical conditions) the DVLA is writing to the consultant / GP in every case. She said that in my case she did not believe that my licence would be restricted at all (the first level / restriction is to reduce the term to 1 or 3 years depending). She said that if people don't notify and then they are involved in an accident it is possible that their insurance may be invalidated and as she said you don't want to give insurance companies a change of wriggling out of a claim, particularly if the costs are high.

    I do know that even under the old rules (as little as two years ago) if someone was involved in an accident where tiredness of dosing was suspected as being a possibility when driving then not only was a breathalyser test given but their medical history was checked. The person involved had not seen the GP or a SA consultant nor was their any indication on their notes re SA. If there had of been then they would have been in trouble!!!

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