Your Driving Licence After Age 70

70 is the new 50, so they say – but not according to the DVLA. In the UK, all driving licences automatically expire when the motorist reaches their 70th birthday. From then on, they have to be reviewed and renewed every 3 years to ensure the driver remains medically fit to drive.

If you need to fight a decision to revoke your licence on medical grounds and to present evidence that you are still fit to drive, it is important to get legal advice. For anybody looking for barristers in Ipswich specialising in motoring issues, Marcus Croskell has extensive knowledge of this whole area of the law, including helping drivers over 70 to retain their licences.

What Does the Law Say about Driving After Age 70?

Licences cannot be revoked purely on grounds of age, but only on medical grounds, in instances where a driver has a condition which could make them unsafe on the road. While carrying out checks makes sense in terms of ensuring that people are fit to drive, it can create problems for over-70s who have to keep renewing their licences and proving that they are in good health.

At this age, it can often happen that someone becomes medically unfit to drive for a time, but then regains health and fitness due to medical treatment. Unfortunately, however, if a licence has been revoked, it can often prove hard to have it reinstated later on.

With an increasing number of people in the UK falling into the 70-plus age range, driving over this age is increasingly important. Many people in this age group are still fit and healthy, and want to continue driving to maintain their independence. More than 3.8 million over-70s currently hold driving licences.

Driving Over 70

A growing number of over-70s are now putting off retirement and carrying on driving for employment reasons, including part-time and voluntary work. Others have important family responsibilities, including providing childcare for grandchildren or caring for spouses or more elderly parents, which can also require regular use of a car.

For all these reasons, retaining a driving licence is important for many people’s independence and livelihood. Also, public transport can be quite limited in rural areas in particular, including some of the villages in Suffolk and East Anglia, such as those around Ipswich and Woodbridge. This means a car is often needed to travel to all kinds of appointments or just to go and do the household’s shopping.

How Can You Prevent Your Licence Being Revoked?

A licence can only be revoked on medical grounds, which requires a doctor or specialist to certify that you are fit or unfit. If you are informed that your licence may be revoked, the next step is to seek written evidence from a doctor or other relevant specialist, for instance an optician, to show you are fit to drive. In cases where you are genuinely fit to drive, this evidence will normally be accepted by the DVLA.

What To Do if Your Licence is Incorrectly Revoked

If you feel that your licence should not have been removed, the first line of defence is to provide evidence to the DVLA from a suitable doctor or specialist. If this is rejected, you can then go to the Magistrates’ Court to appeal. It is at this point that having experienced motoring lawyers to argue your case is vitally important.

In one recent case, a client approached Marcus Croskell for advice and representation regarding his appeal against the revocation of his driving licence on medical grounds. He had been a professional driver all his life and was eligible under his licence to drive nearly all HGVs (classes C, C1 and CE). Like many people, he was surprised to receive a letter from the DVLA revoking his licence due to a report made by his local GP.

Where the DVLA Medical Group receive a report from a medical practitioner that a driver is considered dangerous, they are obliged to act within 24 hours. In this instance, the client immediately appealed and was helped by Marcus Croskell through the appeal process, including appearances at the magistrates' court.

During the intervening period, he underwent further medicals and a driving assessment. With the help of his barrister, he was able to show that the alleged minor degeneration of his cognitive function was not a recognised medical condition for licence revocation.

Where a driver succeeds in retaining their licence and the DVLA has failed to follow the appropriate procedures, there may be scope for bringing a formal complaint with a view to obtaining a public apology and nominal compensation. If the DVLA does not engage in this process, there is always the option of having the matter referred through your local MP to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman. They will independently look at the case and they have the power to force the DVLA to give both an apology and compensation.

If you need to find barristers in Ipswich specialising in motoring law, Marcus Croskell is based in the town. He regularly represents people in all types of driving case across a wide area, including Essex, Norfolk and all of East Anglia. Follow the link to make a free initial enquiry or call 0843 886 2603.