Help about driving again after TBI-who do we conta... - Headway


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Help about driving again after TBI-who do we contact etc?


Recovering fromTBI and driving again- After 14 months OH thought he would see if he was able to drive again-he assumed he would just need assessing at one of the disability assessment centres(that was what neurologist told him) but apparently not ! he has to inform the DVLA (as it was a neurological injury)-Anyone been through this situation and how do they test him etc?

17 Replies

My hubby had a single seizure after his TBI and was told he had to voluntarily surrender his licence to DVLA and that could reapply for his licence after 6 - 12 months so long as he didn't have another seizure.

The consultant at the hospital only saw my hubby once as an outpatient and then discharged him but did say that he could reapply for his licence at the 12 month stage - he wanted the 12 months rather than 6 as he said it was a significant injury.

We were advised to reapply several months before the 12 months is up as DVLA take so long to sort these things out. Hubby reapplied in April - DVLA then asked for a medical report from our GP (I believe they also seek one from any specialists if you are still getting specialist care). The GP has issued the report to DVLA and we have now received medical forms and a licence re-application from DVLA (it is 12 months from the TBI next week) to complete and return.

The GP has warned us that DVLA "may" require an independent medical examination prior to reissuing the licence and that it may take some months longer.

Hubby will be going through the completed forms with our GP next week in order to ensure that he is not saying anything that conflicts with the report that the GP has sent to DVLA and will then send them off.

I will let you know if the DVLA call him for a medical or just reissue licence as soon as we know.

However we do find that DVLA is not always consistent - so hard to call what the outcome will be.

I assume that DVLA have to be informed for insurance purposes in case their is another incident - but I am not sure?

Hope your situation is sorted soon - but be warned DVLA take a long time........

Good luck x

I would echo what meowth has said. The main reason to be asked to surrender your license is the risk of seizure. After a year with none my consultant told me i should ask DVLA for my licence back. I completed a from from their website had to conduct an interview with my GP and give permission for DVLA to contact my other drs. It took a while but it was fairly straightforward. There are some assessment centres round the country and you may be asked to attend a medical but in my case there was none of this. About 18 months after my TBI i was able to drive again. I took a driving lesson first and would recommend that as a good way to get confidence back.

Thanks for the replies. He still has his licence as no one mentioned surrendering it at the time and he has never drove since (15 months since accident, with most things broken so it was obvious he couldnt drive anyway).Just thought we had to go to reassesment centre and that was it-as we thought they just tested reactions etc.He has never had seizures-thank god! but dont know what to do now as never gave up licence in the first place!

I'm afraid I can't identify with any of these comments. I had my SAH in Dec 2011. In Jan 2012 I informed DVLA but was not asked to surrender my license......just to inform them when my consultant considered me fit to drive.

In March 2012 I had my first check-up and saw the consultant .....who was also the surgeon who performed the coiling......and asked him when I would be fit to drive. He told me to go home, phone DVLA and (giving his name) tell them my consultant at Salford Royal hospital now considers me fit to drive.

So I phoned to tell them and when I asked 'So is that OK?' I was told it was purely a matter for the doctors 'but thank you for letting us know'.

I have been told on this site that it doesn't happen that way but it DID for me. I was hospitalised for two months and driving again in three.

I was admitted on 7th Dec 2011 and driving again on my birthday, 16th March 2012.

This makes most sense to me......surely the people best to judge are those who've treated us and watched our progress.

Hi, I had TBI 9 years ago. I was out of hospital 1 year and there was a problem concerning delivery of a car to Limoges in France. There was no one else, and I knew I was supposed to notify DVLA, but what the hell. I felt fine so off I went. The only problems I had was when I got the train home. I arrived at Austerlitz station and had to get across Paris to the Gare du Nord without being able to speak the lingo. But push on and let's see what happens. I got home in one piece and was paid well for the experience. So the answer to your dilemma is: if you feel good then don't worry about it. The information I gleaned when I took my test was that they wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be a nuisance and a burden, so if you feel good, crack on.

this feels like one of those 'moral dilema probs'-neurologist says just get assesssed at assessment centre and the assessment centre says DVLA must be informed-which seems like opening can of worms but he doesnt want to drive if deemed not fit but it does seems like loads of hassle when technically he could just do it- BUT there is that little voice shouting 'what if you had an accident-could you live with yourself'!!....................

i had a socail worker tell dvla about my bang on nut an all they did is test me for drink and drugs and after a crapy letter from me,,, sent me a letter saying ok have a nice day not as simple as i put it

however if you can you can

i knew when i couldnt ride my bike but did start as sooon as poss

pollyanne, why don't you just phone DVLA and ask them what you should do. Perhaps they vary in attitude from one area to another but I found them really approachable and very eager to help, & surely the policy is the same whichever office you contact. What do you have lo lose ? ;-)

pollyanne in reply to cat3

Think i will do, then at least everything is done "by the book"-thanks Cat

cat3 in reply to pollyanne

Will you let us know what they say ?



Headway has a booklet all about driving after brain injury. If you contact the helpline (0808 800 2244;, the team can arrange to send a copy out to you.

It contains plenty of legal and practical advice to help you.

Best wishes,


pollyanne in reply to headwayuk

Many thanks

Just an update! phoned up DVLA and was told he could drive whilst they contacted his doctor etc. He went to be tested voluntary at one of the assessment centres (as technically he hadnt been told not to drive) they said he was ok! Doctor was told assessment centre said he was ok and filled all the forms in from the DVLA- Took about 4 months though and there biggest concern was if he had any epileptic fits (he hadnt)

Hi again pollyanne. So glad to hear you managed to get this sorted. I'm curious though to know what exactly took 4 months if your OH was told he could drive straight away.

People's experiences differ so radically from one area to another & it's hard to understand why there isn't a hard & fast rule for such a serious matter. I don't think people believe how little 'red tape' I encountered after only three months. (One phone call to DVLA).

I'm in Manchester.......can I ask what area of the country you're in ? xx

pollyanne in reply to cat3

Hi Cat - Think they took the view that no one had told them so he must be ok-until they were told differently! the time taken was the letters going back and to from consultants/driving centre etc verifying that he had taken the assessment and was deemed fit to drive (basically he didnt reallly need to take the assessment but morally he felt he should have everything legitimised). We are 18 miles away from you!! but there appears to be no hard and fast rules over this driving situation in place -which is a pity as no one knows what to do?

Sorry pollyanne - only just seen your reply - I find it more difficult with this new format to keep track of threads.

Yes it's confusing for new members looking for advice on driving, with all the conflicting accounts, but I think I'd go straight to DVLA every time.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'm really pleased your man is mobile at last and to wish you a lovely Christmas. :-) xx

thanks cat- may your stocking be plentiful!! merry christmas to you as well x

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