The drug-driving laws that persecute the disabled


As if they didn’t have enough to endure, disabled drivers are being harassed by the DVLA, it seems.

“Today I was grilled for an hour by a doctor approved by the DVLA, asked whether I had taken crack, heroin, cocaine etc over the last three years, the final insult was having to wee into a pot with a doctor I don’t know watching me.”

Remember when the new law to tackle drug-driving came into effect, in March this year?

The then-Coalition Government said “the legislation makes it illegal to drive with certain drugs in the body above specified levels, including 8 illegal drugs and 8 prescription drugs.”

Importantly, the announcement added: “People using prescription drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalised.”

Now let’s hear from a Vox Political commenter (who has asked not to be named), who had an extremely unpleasant experience at the hands of the DVLA.

This person writes: “I’m diagnosed bipolar [with] borderline personality disorder. My licence was up for renewal in May; my consultant psychiatrist says I’m fit to drive. The last two times my licence was renewed – straightforward.

“Today I was grilled for an hour by a doctor approved by the DVLA, asked whether I had taken crack, heroin, cocaine etc over the last three years, the final insult was having to wee into a pot with a doctor I don’t know watching me.

“I’m on antipsychotics and antidepressants prescribed by a constant psychiatrist. Surely her expertise should be enough?

“Is this happening to other disabled people where the DVLA don’t understand the drugs they are taking? I feel like I was interrogated for hour, like I was a drug addict!”

Is it?

The law states that only eight prescription drugs come under the authority of the new law.

Have you been wrongly harassed by DVLA doctors?

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9 thoughts on “The drug-driving laws that persecute the disabled

  1. Patrick

    When I was prescribed a low dose of zomorph in additon to my other pain medication by my Pain Clinic Professional I was given a leaflet informing me that I should notify the DVLA. I rang the DVLA and they appear not to have any procedure in place to deal with this situation. I got a confused letter from the DVLA saying thank you for letting us know you have arthritis let us know if it gets worse! After that I replied by letter enclosing a copy of the advice I had received both from my doctor and the Pain Clinic. I assumed that would be that but when my wife rang the DVLA to let Motability have access to our driving licence details I was informed that I was still under investigation by their ‘doctor’. It is some weeks since my letter to them which received no acknowledgement. Given how many people must need to inform about their medication you would think they would have some sort of on line database capable of being filled in on line and which would flag up anything that needed investigation. Given that the DVLA has taken IT back in house it would be a good idea for them to sort this out pronto.

  2. stephen brophy

    This drug driving law is just another way of f@cking over the public calling it drug driving or driving while high is a lie! Any one that had smoked weed Friday night will test positive Monday morning! that’s to the tories! Another right and freedom has gone!

  3. Thomas

    I can sort of see the Tory POV in this case. There are people who abuse drink and drugs and drive and they do cause harm. But why does everything the Tories do have to punish disabled people?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s not an exclusively Tory point of view to want to keep drug users from driving. They could cause harm, and that makes it a law and order issue.
      The problem is in the implementation, as always with the Tories.

  4. Beth Urmston

    I wrote to the DVLA on 20th March 2015 listing health issues and medications taken. I asked for them to confirm whether or not I was still legal to drive and would be covered by insurance.

    I am still awaiting a decision. They say they have written to my GP twice but still had no response. Seems even DVLA and GP’s are so unclear they do not want to take responsibility.

    By the time they make a decision my health and medication will have changed completely – I may even be dead if they really take their time (joke). However I would like an answer not just for myself but for all those I support in a similar situation.

  5. Spoonydoc

    Only anecdotal evidence but an elderly friend had great trouble renewing her licence for the first time this year.
    She has hand controls (always has done) but also had to get a letter from her consultant (difficult because she hadn’t seen him in 10 years). She was asked what she took for pain relief, so this could well be linked.
    The whole process took ages and in the end her licence expired before the new one was issued. This was a problem because although they give you a temporary paper version, it is not valid in the EU and they were due to go on holiday in France to visit family.

  6. digger

    i know a person who is on a long term methadone programme and is still allowed to drive even though hes been caught out of hes head slumped over the steering wheel of the car and reported to the police more than once they say hes a registered drug addict so is doing nothing wrong and they wont be able to do anything about it unless he has an accident and hurts/kills some body who makes theese laws up?

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