Elderly drivers warned of potential delays until September with licence applications
Dr Hilary discusses the risks for older drivers
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The DVLA has clarified that when drivers submit a paper application and they have declared a medical condition, it will take longer. Speaking on BBC Morning Live, presenter Matt Allwright said: “Back in March, they (DVLA) said they had a backlog of 800,000 people.
“They know say that most applications that are taking place which don’t require medical evidence, that side of things is back up to pre-pandemic levels.
“But unfortunately, they are saying those that do require medical evidence are going to take until September to get back to the way that it was before the pandemic.
“That means that some of those that are the most vulnerable in society are waiting for their licences, possibly wondering whether they can drive or not.
“Of course, if you can’t drive, that cuts off your contact to the outside world. Possibly you’ve got people in the house who you care for and if you can’t use your car that’s going to limit you.
“A key thing to say is that if you apply online, it seems that is happening more much more quickly and effectively than those where you have to put in applications using paper evidence.
“If you can apply online – and even with some medical conditions you can do that – that’s definitely the way to try first.”
According to the DVLA website, the online services are the quickest, easiest and often cheapest way to deal with any licence queries.
The Government agency advises drivers to use the online services where possible.
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When applying online, motorists should receive their driving licence or vehicle registration certificate (V5C) within five days.
DVLA services are operating within normal turnaround times as paper applications are being processed within three to four weeks.
It urges drivers to allow four weeks for the new documents to be sent if they are applying by post.
Drivers are discouraged from calling the DVLA within those four weeks as the application will be processing and it will not be able to provide further information.
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Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act allows people to drive in certain circumstances even if they don’t have a licence.
This is typically when an application is currently being processed by the DVLA when the licence runs out.
Section 88 cover is valid until the new driving licence arrives, the application is refused or licence revoked, the application is more than a year old or if they have been disqualified from driving since the application was sent to the DVLA.
The Morning Live team heard from a viewer, about whether they could drive while waiting for a licence.
Frank, 85, had a pacemaker fitted and applied for a new licence in November, but has since not been able to drive while waiting for a medical check, despite calls and letters to the DVLA.
Matt Allwright said that Frank was told by his doctor that he would be able to drive seven days after having the pacemaker fitted.
He said that based on the criteria the DVLA has online and the information Frank had given to him, Frank could be driving.
Dr Ranj Singh, another one of the presenters, said: “If he’s already reported his condition to the DVLA in the past, if there’s not been a significant change and his doctor hasn’t told him he cannot drive, then under Section 88, he should still be able to drive.
“But we don’t know the full details.”
It is the responsibility of the driver to tell the DVLA about the medical condition, not their doctors.
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