My licence expired at the end of last March (I have been on a 3 year licence since becoming an insulin dependent diabetic) and I had applied for a replacement last February and completed the medical questionnaire, including details of my ataxia which I had included on every application since being diagnosed with ataxia. I received a letter allowing me to continue driving under section 88, whilst my application was considered. Now, after 9 months, they (the DVLA) have told me to have a driving assessment.

I can understand the request for an assessment and I don't mind having one but why ask for it after telling them of my ataxia some 9 months ago. Surely it would make sense to have the driving assessment upon receipt of my medical details (oh sorry, I am dealing with a Government Department where common sense is not very common!).

Has anyone else had a similar experience with the DVLA?


7 Replies

  • hi bob I passed test 20 months ago I walked out my job 2 months ago so I have decided to go to college and get a part time job due to my ataxia I didn't know I had to tell the dvla about my ataxia my wifes friend told her I had to so I have sent the forms back waiting to here from them so I will keep you posted to see what they say to me

  • I had a completely different experience. I have given up driving of my own accord now but when I first had ataxia some twenty years ago I filled in the form informing the DVLA about my condition. Although it did take them months to reply, I was allowed to carry on driving with no assessment. There seems to be no uniformity when dealing with cases of Ataxia. Perhaps there is now.

  • Hello Bob. I have had exactly the same experience. Please note that the section 88 is time limited and you have the responsibility to reapply after it expires. I say this because the DVLA took TWO YEARS to finalise my application when my three year licence ran out. I had a driving assessment in Derby, and the staff were very kind, but don't underestimate the test. Mine lasted a full hour, and included getting up to full speed on a dual carriageway and reversing into a space. In my opinion it was similar to an advanced test. At one point I had to narrate the road signs. Just stay calm and focused. I did write a formal letter of complaint to the DVLA which they kindly put on my file, but never addressed. Good luck with it all. Your case is not out of the ordinary.

  • TWO YEARS!! It's almost time to re-apply and start again.


  • My partner has got progressive cerebella ataxia diagnosed last February the dvla stopped him driving till he had his assessment he passed that but was told to change his car to automatic also he is on a yearly licence so he has got another soon he is unwell but we hope he keeps it although he doesent go far !

  • I can't give you a definitive answer but it could well be that it's taken that long to get from one department to another. I am a driving instructor and know that the DVLA are a "interesting " organisation to deal with.

  • Isn't it wonderful how experiences differ.

    I telephoned the DVLA after my diagnosis and all they said was to send in my current licence. I seem to remember getting my new time limited licence within weeks.

    Towards the end of last year I reapplied as the three years limit was coming up. Again I received a swift response, but unfortunately they declined my licence on grounds of safety because of the pain medication I have to take, unrelated to Ataxia.

    It has been very difficult managing without my car. The pain, and mobility problems, mean that public transport is unpleasant for me. Black cabs have now become the norm when I need to use my wheelchair but of course they are quite expensive for anything other than local journeys. (I have joined the London Taxicard scheme, but as mentioned it remains expensive for longer journeys.)

    btw - The DVLA were right with their decision as the side effects of my meds mean that I do not have 100% awareness and response.

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