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DVLA -What to do?


Registered User
Nov 23, 2011
My husband received a letter today from DVLA asking him to arrange a driving assessment. HELP!

He hasn't seen the letter yet. He stopped driving in July last year following the advice of his consultant. The consultant told him to contact DVLA.

As you can see from the timescales DVLA have really dragged their feet. I think that this is apalling but i have not pursued this as I know that hubby should not be driving and i was pleased i didn't have to be the 'bad' guy in this situation and have to take his keys away from him.

It has been VERY difficult for my husband to lose his car and his freedom but i respect that he has not gone against the consultants advice.

He has already had to undergo a medical assessment as DVLA's request and now this. If he goes for the assessment and fails he a) won't accept/understand why b) it will further weaken his self esteem. If he should pass(!) and whilst i doubt this will happen it is not beyond the realms of possibilites - what do i do then.

I would like to ignore the letter and go on just the way we are. My husband appears to have accepted he cannot drive although he does get angry and upset at times. however not sure that i can do this as DVLA will write again revoking his licence for good and i may not be able to 'intercept' any correspondence in this respect.

Anyone had any experience of this and a good way to handle it. Do i write/call DVLA and express my concerns or should i give my husband the chance to have the assessment?

I am now having to make all the decisions and it doesn't always sit comfortably with me.

Thank you for listening. Snow Leopard


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I think you have to decide which is the lesser of two evils: have the assessment which he'll almost certainly fail and get upset about or simply not arrange the assessment and have a reasonable chance of intercepting any letter with the possibility that you won't be able to and that will upset him. Personally I'd go for the latter option where it's possible he'll never realise that his license has been rescinded rather than the former one where he's certain to find out.


Registered User
Sep 20, 2011
Hi Snowleopard
I think if it were me, I would phone dvla and explain the situation. I would then return his license without saying anything. Perhaps they would address the acknowledgement to you?
I know this all sounds very underhand, but I know from experience with my husband that they don't need to be reminded that they are unable to drive.
I agree that if in your opinion his driving isn't safe, then he's better not to be on the road. My husband had to stop driving about 5 years ago, and it hit him hard.

Hope this helps.
Jan x


Registered User
Aug 24, 2010
North Yorkshire
Hello & sorry that you are having this problem with the D V L A etc , agree with what Jan S said as that way ( hopefully ) it will avoid any further problems with your Husband etc .

I know this is not quite the same thing but with my Father ( who has moderate Dementia ) it was the G P who encouraged him to go for a Re Test ( Mum seemed to think Dad was ok to drive but he was not ! :eek: ) After Dad had made a Appt for the Re Test ( it was in the City near us ) he had " forgotten " all about it & Mum did not take him as Mum knew he would " fail " So Mum was being kind if a bit
"underhand " in stopping Dad from Driving

T P Vibes that you are able to sort it as best you can

Best Wishes to you & your Husband

Love Grove x


Registered User
Nov 23, 2011
thank you all, but unfortunatley events have taken a turn and i've been well and truly kaiboshed - another letter came today, one from the driving assessment centre. DVLA have obviously passed my husband's details to them - I thought it was up to us to contact them to arrange an appointment!

This letter was not intercepted :( My husband wants to take the assessement, why wouldn't he, he's never had an accident and considers himself safe!!!

I want to keep it that way and in a way that keeps his self esteem. he will need my help to fill out the forms, arrange the appointment and get him there.

Grove, I would like to think that he may forget and we will never go and this is what i hope for. Unfortunately he will remember at some point, cars are part of everyday life and we can't get away from them. Whether he remembers before or after his licence is revoked it won't be easy and i will have to prepare for that eventuality.

thank you for your support

Snow Leopard, with love


Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
My husband voluntarily surrendered his licence back in 2008. My understanding is if you voluntarily surrender your licence you can apply to get it back if things improve. At the time I was quite aware things would not improve but it seemed a gentler way as there was still a possibility for him that he could return to driving. My husband is now registered blind. He never mentioned trying to get his licence back.


Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
We had to pay £80 for my mothers driving assessment. She had refused to stop driving even though GP, police etc advised her not to and she was certainly not going to pay.
It was pretty awful and of course she failed. after that we had to take her car as she would not believe she had failed. She thought it was some sort of conspiracy.
it was downhill after that and within a day she ended up hallucinating and later trying to get into other peoples cars she thought were her car. (after trying to get me arrested for car theft)She is currently sectioned.I dont know if things would have progressed this way without the stress of the assessment but it is definately something to be avoided if possible, and even if he passed it is only putting off the inevitable. if he is willing to stop driving try not to let him have false hope -tell him it is too expensive or just a con to get money. it isn't of course but why go through it if he has stopped driving voluntarily.


Registered User
Aug 24, 2010
North Yorkshire
Hello & Sorry for any Mix Up

Hi Snow Leopard , Am sorry to read that the D V L A "Sent THAT LETTER " to your Husband . You must be a bit :mad: ? ( untill you said thought it was up to the "Driver " to make a Appt for a "Re Test " the rules must have changed ? )

Sorry if made you :confused: etc when i said "Dad forgot " about the "Re Test " put that bit in only to tell you Dad's out come etc of his Non Driving ! & also sadly that is Dad's main "problem " is "Short Term " Memory Loss . See your Husband is a lot younger than my Dad ( therefore might have different probs etc ) & he might not be quite as bad as my Dad is . Agree with you it is hard & as it was "Me " :( that stopped Dad from Driving with help from G P :) Dad was :mad::mad: with me for Half A Day & then for got about it all !

Much Love , Support & Understanding in helping your Husband & hope things go as well as can be expected at the "Re Test " ( Govt Departments like the D V LA
do not live in the " Real World " :eek: do they ) ? E G sending the Appt letter to your Husband !

Take Care & keep Posting about the out come etc so we can Support you

Love & Hugs Love Grove x x P S ..... Sorry for "going on " a bit / long post ! & hope you understand what i mean about Dad & your Husband
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Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
DVLA - Stop them from Driving Before its too late!

In the five years that I cared for my father this was one of the worst things to deal with as it caused many rows and set barriers between us. My father had never used public transport during his working life, in 2006 I starting getting phone calls from his close friends saying he was unable to drive properly (couldn't read road signs, mis-read traffic light signals, unable to work the controls in his car (lights, front windscreen deminster etc.) unable to navigate to places he'd been driving too every week for years. None of them wanted to get into his car, as none of them felt safe .. he had so many near miss collisions!! It took a year of pleading with his memory specialist (dad always promised him he stop driving but never did) before he wrote to the DVLA (after dad had gone missing, went to see a friend ..... ended up driving from London to Glasgow but couldn't find his way back) and they finally revoked his license. It didn't stop dad from driving though, eventually after a further 3 months I finally got the fourth and last set of his car keys off him. Because he loved his car (it was his rolls royce ... actually a ford focus) I never sold it but he'd bang down the doors (locked) in the middle of the night, smash the house windows in anger, simply because he got it into his head someone was in the garage trying to steal his car and he couldn't get out of the house to stop them.
My advice save yourself years of hassle and worry, phone the DVLA up and tell them he's unfit to drive anymore, ask them to write to his GP / Older Mental Health Team for confirmation i.e. his memory test score. Get a set of his car keys and disable the car i.e. disconnect the battery or something, give him his keys back and when he can't start it, tell him it will have to go to the garage for repair, then take it somewhere else and sell it. If he remembers his car just tell him it went to the garage for repair but the cost was too much and it was scrapped!
In the long run it isn't fair on either your loved one or other road users to play along with pretending they can still drive when they can't remember how to use the car properly, navigate or remember the laws of the road ... if your dad's house was on fire would you sit in his armchair and do nothing or would you get up and act!!
If I'd known in 2007 what was to come, I'd have been 'cruel to be kind' a long time ago .. so many arguments, so much danger, so many days of worry!!


Registered User
Dec 31, 2010
Isle of Wight
I hope things can be resolved easily, whether he takes the assessment or not. With my dad the biggest issue was him stopping driving. We could never have told him that he wasn't fit to drive, it came from the Consultant and my dad hated that. We had months and months of my dad continually trying to phone the police or get to a police station because he believed the police would tell him that he could drive again. Then he went through a phase of wanting to steal cars and trying to go out with screwdrivers to break into neighbour's cars :eek: Thankfully with my dad we were able to intercept DVLA letters and just allowed his licence to expire without his knowledge.


Registered User
Oct 31, 2008
Sorry - I was in the same situation

If you don't act to stop him driving and he has an accident you will feel responsible. I was in the same situation with my Dad and did not know what to do. I befriended his specialist's secretary - a good move for lots of reasons - and she sent a letter from the specialist to the DVLA advising them to withdraw his licence. They did so by return of post. Dad never found out that I had done this, nor did my siblings, who would have told him. The specialist did not mind doing it at all. I did not feel as though I had caused him to have to stop driving - even though I had really - and I could stop worrying about him having an accident. He would have been mortified if he had failed the test because driving was very important to him. He lived alone so not driving meant that he was on his own more, which was sad. It was an awful time and I wish you the very best. You are obviously a very caring woman.


Registered User
Nov 17, 2011
My FIL wanted one last drive before his car was 'lent' to my sister in law. Both brother in laws accompanied him on a short drive around the estate where they live (although my FIL is in care now). I would say it is fact that both my brothers in law had their life pass before their eyes during this drive:eek:

Some years later my MIL let it slip that he had on one occasion driven the wrong way down a slip road which led onto a busy dual carriageway. Fortunately someone coming up the sliproad flashed his lights etc and he stopped and turned around!

The car was never returned to him and he eventually stopped asking where it was. Sad but a necessary act.


Registered User
Nov 23, 2011
Time for an Update

I just typed a very long eloquent response and lost it when the cat jumped up onto the laptop...........grrrrr.

When Hubby and I went for a walk a couple of days after the driving assessment letter came through he said some words along the lines of 'I can't see the point in any assessment'. We have not spoken about it since, the forms remain blank and i don't intend to mention it again. I may contact DVLA and discuss the situation with them or as per 'dadrulesOK' go through the consultant - thank you for that suggestion. I now intend to sell my car (we have been meaning to do this for some time anyway,as i am able to use my daughters car when she is at Uni) and i will put hubby's car in my name. When I find the courage i will change it to something more suitable for our 'new' situation..

One step at a time.

There will be more rants and more tears about his loss of independence etc, but i will be there to console - We are both mourning our losses in different ways.

Snow Leopard with love x
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Registered User
Mar 17, 2005

Alzheimer's Society factsheets Driving and dementia (439)
When the DVLA decides that the person can continue driving
If someone receives a diagnosis of dementia and wants to continue to drive, they must, by law, inform the DVLA. Notification of the diagnosis should be sent with the person's full name, address, date of birth and the driver number on the driving licence, if known, to the Drivers Medical Group (see 'Useful organisations').
If, following its medical enquiry, the DVLA decides that the person can continue to drive, they will issue a new driving licence that will be valid for a limited period. For someone with dementia, the licence duration is usually for one year, although in very early cases it may be longer, up to a maximum of three years. The person's condition will be reviewed at least once a year. It is also a good idea for relatives, or others close to the person with dementia, to tactfully monitor the person's driving skills on a regular basis Continuing to drive
My decision to continue to drive is between me my Consultant at memory clinic and the DVLA { not my wife or children } fortunately they support me anyway


Registered User
Mar 6, 2012
my dad's in denial

this is the first time that I've looked at this site and it's been really interesting to read all the comments. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers in Nov 2011. He is in denial about the diagnosis and although he's taking the medication (when he remembers) he believes that it has cured him and that he no longer has a problem with his memory. Over the past few months he voluntarily gave up driving , as requested by the consultant after we raised concerns for his and others safety. We talked about having a driving assessment and dad agreed. However, he then went to an optician and has cataracts in both eyes and needs to see a consultant about that. What he is struggling with is that he feels that he is a safe driver but knows that he can't read a number plate at the required distance. He is not seeing the consultant about his sight until end of April and this topic has now become obsessional and is all he'll talk about and he can be regularly verbally aggressive when we say anything that suggests he has to wait, that he has to inform DVLA etc. My husband went out in the car with dad driving at dad's request and he couldn't find his way to places and stopped the car in the middle of the road in panic. he didn't see speed bumps or slow down enough for them. He denies that he did this and continues to talk about driving all the time. He says that life is not worth living without his car (although he walks to the bus stop and catches a bus into town every day) and intimated that he'd kill himself if he doesn't get his car back (at the moment it's at my husbands garage, which dad agreed to).
We're thinking that it would be best if he just takes the driving assessment and he agrees and then at other times he says he needs to wait to get his cataracts done or he'll fail it. The trouble is that he's so obsessed by it that it is making his symptoms worse as well as his anger and aggression.
Dad lives on his own and has never been able to accept mum's death 9 years ago. he has no care support apart from family - me and my sister - and it's us that he gets angry with.
The other problem we have is that he refuses to have a bath or shower - since last April! he says that he has a "good wash" but that's it.

Any advice or thoughts are welcome.




Registered User
Jan 6, 2012
Hi all, I am in process of confirmation of diagnosis , but was told my neurologist I needed to have driving assessment , which I have had; it was at local pecialist assessment centre, & have to say the staff were wonderful, very supportive & helped me to relax ....I was terrified !!! Luckily there has been an offer recently for free assessment ; they picked up few issues which I had concerns about too ; I have completed form for dvla and also sent the written report from driving assessor, and waiting to hear there decision, but assessor said to continue at present , & will need to have a ' re run ' in April ....however had awful driving experience last week driving in the dark, managed to take wrong turn despite my sat nav and partners directions ...li became totally disorientated ( its not just a feeling of being lost ), & to be honest it felt like I was being asked to drive a space buggy on mars ,,,,I was terrified ( & so was my partner, who doesn't drive ) ...I have taken the decision not to drive in the dark anymore...it's not fair on me, any passengers and certainly not on any other road users including pedestrians ....I would be devastated if I injured / killed somebody, & could even end up being imprisoned for careless driving ....l.lso that's my decision .....I am due to see neurologist again next week, he plans to start medication, & if things improve , who knows, I may be able to drive at night again ,,,,,,,but I'd rather be safe than sorry x


Registered User
Nov 23, 2011
Latest update

I thought it important to update you on this subject.

My husband has taken the drriving assessment as recommended by DVLA at a specialist centre, against my 'better' judgement but as it was important to him I agreed to take him.

The whole process took five hours including a short break for lunch. The staff were on the whole very good and managed to keep my husband quite at ease and reasonably relaxed throughout the day.

He failed. He didn't understand why.

Tony, whilst i totally understand and empathise with your position this awful disease affects people in very different ways. With my husband, his ability to think rationallly with logical thought processes and to act with a reasoned response has been deeply compromised by Alzheimers. I knew he was not safe to drive, but he could not see and cannot see his deficiences.

I know how important it is to remain independent and I would and do encourage this where possible. My husband has not driven for some time now, this has not been easy for either of us as we live in a rural area and have children still dependent on us. i respect my husband for not driving and am thankful that i have not had to take action to prevent him from driving to protect himself and others from potential harm.

For us the matter is now closed.

with love and understanding always, Snow Leopard x


Registered User
Aug 24, 2010
North Yorkshire
Thanks for the update

Hello SnowLeopard , Many thanks for the "Update " & however hard it has been for you & your Husband in dealing/ coping with the Driving ......You have been very "brave " ( in my veiw ) in Supporting your Husband in taking the "Re - Test " etc , etc

Just wanted to Post this & let you know that was all ( even tho you said for you the matter was closed & can see what you mean )

Take Care & Best Wishes

Love Grove x x