There are more than 3.8 million full driving licence holders aged 70 and over in the UK, according to the DVLA.
Owning a car is often a way for older drivers to keep their independence in their later years and, as a result, many worry about losing their driving licence. However, if the DVLA does decide to revoke your licence, it’s not always the end of the road.
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Here’s our guide on how to challenge such a decision – and stay behind the wheel:
1. Know your rights
At the age of 70, all driving licences expire and you must renew your licence every three years.
A driving licence can be revoked on medical grounds if the driver has an illness or medical condition that falls within certain criteria that makes them a danger on the road. However, the DVLA cannot revoke a licence simply on the grounds of age - such a step would be unlawful and open to challenge.
Read more about driving after your 70th birthday.
2. Get the facts
If the DVLA decides to revoke your licence on medical grounds, you will be informed by an individual decision maker at the DVLA – usually by letter.
They must set out the exact reasons for the decision, which must fall within certain statutory provisions.
If your licence is revoked you cannot continue to drive. (You would commit the offence of driving without a licence.)
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3. Contact your doctor
At this stage it’s advisable to provide extra information from either your doctor or a specialist.
You also have a right to appeal against the revocation to the Magistrates' Court but, unless you are running out of time, it is usually better to produce good quality evidence and representations in writing beforehand.
Written representations are important. Such material will provide the basis of an appeal should this be necessary.
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4. Going to appeal
If the DVLA stands by its initial decision then, unfortunately, the only option is an appeal to a Magistrates’ Court. The function of the Magistrates’ Court is to decide if the DVLA has made the correct decision. It is effectively a rehearing of all the evidence and issues, plus any new information.
You will be required to attend the appeal at the Magistrates' Court.
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5. Get professional help
It is up to the DVLA to satisfy the court that its decision was correct. It must do this on the evidence before it, which is why time spent on good quality medical evidence is so important.
The appeal will look closely at exactly what was before the person who made the decision and if the driver is suffering from a medical condition that makes them a danger to the public.
If you are considering hiring a solicitor to help fight your case, try to do this at the earliest stage possible. A sound knowledge of the law and legal principles and an ability to present them properly to the court are essential.
About the author: In the last 30 years as a motorists' solicitor, David Barton has represented hundreds of clients in connection with all types of driving offences. David is based in Kent and represents clients around the UK.
For more tips and useful information, browse our motoring articles.
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