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Driving assessment

Nancy43

New member
Oct 17, 2021
7
0
Hi, my husband was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the 10th March, and was told three times by the psychologist that she strongly advised him too stop driving. Although he can’t remember much at all about the tests etc, the fact about driving seems to have stuck with him. He doesn't know that he has Alzheimer’s (which I think is a good thing. I’d hate it for him to know and worry). because he can’t accept that he can’t drive, the memory clinic are sending a driving assessment form for us to complete and send back to them. Does anyone know what happens next? Does his consultant decide, or is the form sent to the DVLA? We have informed them of the diagnosis.
thank you
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,854
0
Nottinghamshire
I've not had first hand experience of this @Nancy43 but it is a topic that comes up often here so I'm sure others will be along with their experiences on the matter very soon.
If you type driving assessment into the search bar at the top of the page it should bring up threads on the subject. Some will be old so you may not get a reply from the person that posted in the first place but it will hopefully give you a good overview of other people's thoughts.
These fact sheets might help too.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
786
0
Mid Lincs
DVLA withdrew my OH's licence upon hearing that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the consultant was very surprise when my OH himself spoke to her about it. He then contested that decision and was asked to go for an assessment. It wasn't a quick process and took 8 months to get the appointment. He first had an assessment by someone on the medical side, not sure if was a nurse or OT checking movement of arms, legs, neck etc. Then had to do sight test and perception test, the sort where one graphic had parallel lines but didn't look like they were because you have other lines crossing them at angles and spatial awareness tests. Then he went for a drive. He passed with flying colours but it took another month to get his licence back that lasted for a year.
It was quite an in depth assessment.
 

Raest

Registered User
Jan 15, 2022
13
0
My husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at 57 in January after several tests in December. The consultant said he didn’t see why my husband couldn’t drive based on the tests but to have a driving assessment first. He said we could do this privately and we found a company called driveability and he passed. We have notified DVLA back in October when a previous doctor said he had dementia and would never drive or work again before the specialist in January confirmed what he actually had. The insurance was also consulted and driveability and insurance said ok to carry on driving and would be reviewed in a year.
 

Bakerst

Registered User
Mar 4, 2022
145
0
Hi, my husband was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the 10th March, and was told three times by the psychologist that she strongly advised him too stop driving. Although he can’t remember much at all about the tests etc, the fact about driving seems to have stuck with him. He doesn't know that he has Alzheimer’s (which I think is a good thing. I’d hate it for him to know and worry). because he can’t accept that he can’t drive, the memory clinic are sending a driving assessment form for us to complete and send back to them. Does anyone know what happens next? Does his consultant decide, or is the form sent to the DVLA? We have informed them of the diagnosis.
thank you
Hiya, when Hubby was diagnosed with alzheimer's the consultant told us we had to inform DVLA we did, they ask the Consultant for their opinion. Consultant told us he would approve it, Hubby wasn't too bad then, he was given a medical licence for 12 months, after which time the DVLA sent another form to re apply. I duly filled it in..it was November last year, licence was until December. We received another letter telling us Hubby could still drive under section something or other until they heard from his Consultant. Consultant has been off work for about 9 months now...we haven't had any contact either but that's another story...Hubby was ok with the actual driving but couldn't remember how to get anywhere. I was getting really worried about him going out in his van while I was at work..he used to 'threaten' to go somewhere if left him alone. It is now at the point where I can't leave him alone, but thought it safer if we got rid of his beloved van. It was a long painful process to talk him into it but now it has gone I feel a lot safer and a lot less stressed. He is still upset about it and I didn't like doing it but he and others needed to be protected. Sorry it is a bit of a tale, but it is something that was so important to him and I feel terrible doing it but I know that it is something most of us have deal with eventually.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
It is worth remembering that dementia progresses and that the process to stop someone driving against their wishes can take months. It is therefore important to ensure a driver stops driving before, not when, he or she poses a danger to others or themselves.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
I think one thing to remember in this is that the day before a person got lost driving, they were perfectly OK. So any decision that the person is 'fine to drive for the next year' is - frankly - dangerous and irresponsible. Dementia can change drastically in a very short time.

Yes, I appreciate people with dementia have rights and no one likes to take a person's driving license away, but pedestrians and other drivers have rights too - to not get run over by someone who really shouldn't be driving. In my opinion, anyone with dementia who is still driving is merely inches from an accident.
 

Bakerst

Registered User
Mar 4, 2022
145
0
Thank you both, I know it was the right thing to do. It is dangerous for PWD to drive, apart from getting lost, their decision making process is a lot slower and, I don't know about others, but he has started to kind of panic when he hears loud noises..fast cars noisy motorbikes etc.
🤞he will get used to his van not being on the drive
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
636
0
Hi @Bakerst, I'm sure you've done the right thing. MIL drove for 6 years with cognitive impairment and about 6 months before her alzheimer's diagnosis I was getting concerned. about her driving. My husband followed her in his car when she went out and we sat in on a drive with her and everything seemed ok. A year later (6 months post diagnosis) it was clear she was unsafe. We notified the DVLA of her diagnosis and they sent a very detailed questionnaire which she couldn't even complete herself. I was totally honest with all the replies and her licence was withdrawn.
MIL actually was aware of her diagnosis at that time and agreed to her car being sold. 5 years on she's much worse but doesn't believe she has a problem and is always complaining of having no car. It's amazing she can't remember a few minutes ago but remembers her car. It never ceases to amaze me how the brain works.
 

Bakerst

Registered User
Mar 4, 2022
145
0
Hi @Bakerst, I'm sure you've done the right thing. MIL drove for 6 years with cognitive impairment and about 6 months before her alzheimer's diagnosis I was getting concerned. about her driving. My husband followed her in his car when she went out and we sat in on a drive with her and everything seemed ok. A year later (6 months post diagnosis) it was clear she was unsafe. We notified the DVLA of her diagnosis and they sent a very detailed questionnaire which she couldn't even complete herself. I was totally honest with all the replies and her licence was withdrawn.
MIL actually was aware of her diagnosis at that time and agreed to her car being sold. 5 years on she's much worse but doesn't believe she has a problem and is always complaining of having no car. It's amazing she can't remember a few minutes ago but remembers her car. It never ceases to amaze me how the brain works.
Nor me! At the moment he is looking in every cupboard for potatoes, instead of watching the football, which he said he wanted to watch! I asked him to wait until half time but he is insisting. The potatoes are in the same place they have always been, he won't let me label the cupboards because it makes him 'look stupid'. But he still believes he can drive 😤
 

Nancy43

New member
Oct 17, 2021
7
0
Thank you everyone. We have decided between us that hubby has to stop driving, and have sold the car. He keeps wondering where it is, and feels very aggrieved that he’s been strongly advised not to drive.. (as there’s nothing wrong with him) it is funny though how he remembers about driving but not how to turn on the new tv.
 

Sue741215

Registered User
Oct 18, 2019
90
0
Just to say my husband was devastated when he lost his licence - didn't understand it - didn't believe it - once had a £50 phone call to DVLA trying to get through to argue his case. He had always driven for work and absolutely loved driving. I am amazed how he has settled down and now still enjoys driving from the passenger seat. He does point out every pothole - speed camera etc ( no loss of memory there) but I can live with this as I never thought he would get over not being able to drive - well, almost. He does look at the motor scooters in a car showroom we pass and tell me you don't need a driving licence for those! I hope your husband soon settles as well,
 

GillP

Registered User
Aug 11, 2021
1,450
0
My husband’s licence was revoked after a stroke in 2017. Initially he was devastated as he loved driving. He was told by the OT that he could have an assessment if he would like to do so. We did consider this but he quickly got used to being driven about by me. At first he would advise me on what I should do and it was at this point that I realised he would not get behind the wheel again. So for example at traffic lights he would tell me to go as soon as the lights changed to green but was not taking into account that there were cars in front of me and so I couldn’t move!

I was just so thankful that he adjusted so quickly.
 

Kath610

Registered User
Apr 6, 2022
19
0
Maldon, Essex
Hi, my husband was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the 10th March, and was told three times by the psychologist that she strongly advised him too stop driving. Although he can’t remember much at all about the tests etc, the fact about driving seems to have stuck with him. He doesn't know that he has Alzheimer’s (which I think is a good thing. I’d hate it for him to know and worry). because he can’t accept that he can’t drive, the memory clinic are sending a driving assessment form for us to complete and send back to them. Does anyone know what happens next? Does his consultant decide, or is the form sent to the DVLA? We have informed them of the diagnosis.
thank you
Hi, my husband has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s - when we went for the diagnosis meeting, the doctor mentioned driving and the DriveAbility scheme. Our dementia nurse referred my husband to them, though individuals can do it themselves.
They operate in East Anglia, though I’m sure there must be something similar in other areas. They assess a person’s ability to drive after life changing events, not just dementia.
My husband is really reluctant to go but I have told him he has to ( though it isn’t actually compulsory) It may be easier to be told by someone after an assessment rather than in a surgery or consultation.
Hope this is useful
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
12,839
0
Merseyside
Hi, my husband has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s - when we went for the diagnosis meeting, the doctor mentioned driving and the DriveAbility scheme. Our dementia nurse referred my husband to them, though individuals can do it themselves.
They operate in East Anglia, though I’m sure there must be something similar in other areas. They assess a person’s ability to drive after life changing events, not just dementia.
My husband is really reluctant to go but I have told him he has to ( though it isn’t actually compulsory) It may be easier to be told by someone after an assessment rather than in a surgery or consultation.
Hope this is useful
Welcome to TP @Kath610
That sounds like a great scheme.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
I think the factor to bear in mind over driving is that the process for making somone stop driving against their wishes takesa long time. Dementia is progressive. If a person is allowed to drive with a disease that gets progressively worse then by the time they are finally stopped from driving by force, they may potentially have killed themselves and several innocent others. So relatives should think about the likely situation in a few months and not just whether the person is fit to drive today.
 

WJG

Registered User
Sep 13, 2020
123
0
If you have been told by a Dr to stop driving, you must notify your insurance company and stop driving. In my case the DVLA withdrew my licence following a letter from my neurologist. I have appealed against this, and have taken an off-road assessment - but cannot take an on-road assessment unless the DVLA allows me a provisional licence. The process of appeal can be long and tedious but the DVLA has guidance which says they should base any decisions regarding drivers with dementia on evidence of impairment. In my experience they don’t, they go on the judgement of Doctors. Doctors are not qualified to assess someone’s driving abilities any more than driving instructors can diagnose illness.

The process of stopping someone driving doesn’t take time at all, it can be instantaneous. As soon as a Dr gives that advice then the person legally needs to stop, and the DVLA can cancel a licence quickly. I am concerned to read here the statements that suggest that any diagnosis of dementia should mean people should cease driving when what should matter is whether that person is competent or not - which is where driving assessment centres fit in. Please don’t write people with brajn disease off as instantly incapable, we’re not.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
I don't think we are writing people off, just trying to prevent tragedy.

As @MartinWL says, dementia is progressive. Also, changes can happen very suddenly. The day before a person gets lost or drives over a roundabout or runs someone over, they were perfectly OK. People with vascular dementia can have a TIA at any time.

Driving is hard enough when you don't have dementia. I would not get in a car with someone I knew to be cognitively impaired.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,182
0
Yorkshire
Hi @WJG
I hope you get your opportunity to take the on-road assessment ... I agree it's important that any decision about driving is on ability and fair

Sadly many who post here about driving have real concerns about the abilities of the person for whom they care and have seen for themselves proof enough that the person's driving may be a danger to themselves and others but no medic has/will make a pronouncement so they wonder what they can do.

The members are also often torn between wanting to take some action but also not wanting to take away any of the person's independence or pleasure. It's never an easy situation to navigate through.

I believe on diagnosis the DVLA and Insurance provider must be notified but this does not mean that either necessarily take any action
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
If you have been told by a Dr to stop driving, you must notify your insurance company and stop driving. In my case the DVLA withdrew my licence following a letter from my neurologist. I have appealed against this, and have taken an off-road assessment - but cannot take an on-road assessment unless the DVLA allows me a provisional licence. The process of appeal can be long and tedious but the DVLA has guidance which says they should base any decisions regarding drivers with dementia on evidence of impairment. In my experience they don’t, they go on the judgement of Doctors. Doctors are not qualified to assess someone’s driving abilities any more than driving instructors can diagnose illness.

The process of stopping someone driving doesn’t take time at all, it can be instantaneous. As soon as a Dr gives that advice then the person legally needs to stop, and the DVLA can cancel a licence quickly. I am concerned to read here the statements that suggest that any diagnosis of dementia should mean people should cease driving when what should matter is whether that person is competent or not - which is where driving assessment centres fit in. Please don’t write people with brajn disease off as instantly incapable, we’re not.
If you have experience of the DVLA doing anything at all swiftly then I suggest you have experience of an exceptional case. Normally when they become aware of a possible impairment of ability to drive they write to the driver and ask for a form to be filled in, giving a couple of weeks to do it. Then they write to the GP who also takes time to reply. They they take a bit longer to make a decision and write to the driver. This is not instantaneous at all. Medical practitioners may give advice to a patient not to drive. However a person may ignore advice, it isn't legally binding. Also a person may refuse to see a doctor in the first place.

My earlier point was that a driving assessment only tests competence on the day of the assessment. As @Jaded'n'faded rightly points out, a safe driver with a progressive disease may be competent to drive today and dangerous to others tomorrow.