Home Driving Licence Should drivers diagnosed with dementia face a re-test?
Should drivers diagnosed with dementia face a re-test?

Should drivers diagnosed with dementia face a re-test?


Newly-diagnosed dementia patients could  face an automatic driving ability test if a bill being put before Parliament becomes law.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a progressive disorder and it affects how the brain works and in particular the ability to remember, think and reason. Most people who are affected by dementia are over 65. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, and alongside vascular dementia makes up the majority of cases.


Why are there calls for drivers with dementia to face a re-test?

There are already conditions that drivers must inform the DVLA about but now an MP wants drivers diagnosed with dementia to face a re-test. Tory MP Rachel Maclean has said of the proposals that GPs will inform the DVLA when their patient is diagnosed with dementia and  a driving assessment will then be arranged. Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch, Worcestershire, said: “Giving up driving represents a tremendous loss of independence. To be the one who is having that conversation is really difficult and this Bill would mean notification takes place without it having to cause all that conflict within the family or within a caring relationship.”

The notification takes place, it goes to the DVLA, then they will kick-off the process of requiring the person to come for a supplementary driving test.”

Ms Maclean told how she had first-hand experience of trying to persuade her doctor mother, who has Alzheimer’s, to stop driving.

Rachel Maclean has also had first-hand experience of trying to persuade her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, to stop driving. She said: “[She’s] a very strong-willed lady and she definitely wasn’t ready to give up driving.

“I just feel it’s very important to have a system that’s set up to support families going through this process, rather than making it more difficult than it needs to be.”

Dr Alison Evans, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, backed the idea of a driving assessment.

She said: “It can be difficult to maintain a balance between enabling a person with dementia to live independently and ensuring the safety of that person and those around them. This balance will need continual reassessment as the condition progresses.”

Who thinks drivers with dementia should not have to face a re-test?

Caroline Abrahams of Age UK, does not agree with the proposed idea of automatic driving tests for dementia patients.

She said: “A dementia diagnosis need not necessarily mean that it is not safe for a person to drive, certainly in the shorter term.

“We do not think that a diagnosis of dementia should, in and of itself, trigger an immediate assessment as to whether a person is fit to drive but, if they are in any doubt

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