stopping patient driving/DVLA /experience of please



Does anyone have any experience of how the DVLA actually deal with reports of someone driving when they have dementia please

My 89 yr old Mother is so clearly in Dementia and has very blank sessionswhere she has no clue whats going on around her ....... but still insists on driving ...the mere mention that she needs to consider what she will do when she is no longer able to drive has met with a torrent of venom for years

It scares hell out of me and i worry for others in her path

The only way forward that i can see is to report her to DVLA but i have been told they do nothing about it

surely this cant be true .......whats your experiences please


Registered User
Oct 28, 2005
Cambridgeshire UK
driving with AD

I'm just dealing with this at the moment. My husband was diagnosed with AD in August this year. He's 55 years old. The psychiatrist said he should stop driving as of then but of course Steve said he really didn't want to stop and pleaded with the doctor not to stop him so we were given a phone number of a fairly local mobility assessment centre. (Ours was in Thetford, Norfolk but they have them in various parts of the country) He got an appointment the very next day and had to take someone who could drive with him in case he failed, to drive him home. He had to have the cognitive tests first and failed those miserably, so much so, the man and the woman at the centre weren't even going to take him out of the road. Fortunately they did and he was fine but he has to go there every August as they have to do it each year. I had to inform the DVLA and his insurance company that he had AD, he had taken the 'test'and send them copies of the report we got back from the assessment centre. Just before Christmas, we had a letter from the DVLA, he had to send his license back (both the old paper one and the photo card one) and they will send him a yearly one.

Hope this is of some help to you.



You dont know my Mother !!!!

if her Doctor was any good he would have stopped her driving when Cataracts were diagnosed

Problem is none of the medics realise little old ladies of 89 are still driving !and its not compulsory for either doctors or opticians or even the Consultant to inform the DVLA that someone has cataracts either before an op or after

I told her she had to report cataracts to DVLA and got my head bitten off and firmly told

"she did not have to do anything before her licence was due for renewal the following year "


Registered User
Jun 28, 2005

There seems to be a lot of confusion around the rules for driving and dementia. When my husband was officially diagnosed with Alzheimers the Consultant told us that we were legally obliged to notify our insurance company and the DVLA which we duly did. This was in the March, we then received some forms to complete and send back and at the beginning of May he received a letter informing him that his licence was revoked and that he had to stop driving in two days from the date we received the letter - no chance of a test or anything. I phoned the DVLA and had a very rude young woman telling me more or less that it was tough but those were the rules. We could have appealed but it would have gone to court and cost us a lot of money and at the end of it probably wouldn't have got the decision changed. I really don't understand why there seem to be so many different rules as it appears that some people are informed they can carry on driving, some are tested etc but our Consultant told us that generally the licence was taken away. Because my husband was so upset at loosing his licence I phoned many different people including the local Alzheimer's Branch and they were very surprised and in fact told me that they were sure there was some mistake as it was unusual for the licence to be taken away without any chance of a test. As I said - total confusion!! Can anyone explain why the rules are not cut and dried on this issue?



Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Janice - and a Happy Birthday!

I think the rules are kept deliberately vague because of the different way that dementia affects every person.

Spatial awareness does not always go early on. Brain/eye coordination does not always go early on. Ability to coordinate everything needed to drive does not go early on, necessarily.

The removal of a driving licence is such a major thing for a person, that it is done only when absolutely necessary in the eyes of the person doing the removing. Though that is not always true, and people can fight to get their licence back again.

My own feeling is that for the safety of everyone, the licence should be revoked, or at least maintained subject to very regular checks [much more regularly than annually], simply because dementia can go in fits and starts and someone tested fine this week, may decline next week. [indeed this can be true of anyone, those without dementia included].

I just think of the challenges of driving these days - roundabouts, right turns, crossroads, level crossings, rush hours, motorways, car-lined streets, one way streets...... these are difficult enough for the average driver anyway.

The issue of insurance is a whole other matter.


Thoroughly agree

Its the safety of others on the road which i believe is paramount
Theres enough crazy devil may care drivers as it , Plenty of sharp witted 60 yr olds find driving a real nightmare these days

When you have had a daughter injured in a car accident by a young idiot loosing control of a car at speed and hitting them head on ,on the wrong side of the road and you are still picking up the pieces a year later along with coping with her 4 children the last thing you need is an 89 yr old Mother still insisting on driving when they dont know which planet they are on .

Sadly i do not think any of the current renewal of licence every 3 years after age 70 without full retesting is adequate

In New Zealand they also have to take a practical test every year after age 75
and the same thing was supposed to be instituted here too


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear All,

My father was hell on wheels during his last year of driving. He would set out from home on a familiar route and then stop in the middle of a roundabout because he had forgotten where he was going...!! He also managed to crash into several walls and kerbs and generally was dangerous to the extreme.

I finally [and in desperation] spoke to our Consultant Psychiatrist. I then took my father along to a meeting with our CP where he was persuaded that he should give up driving. I then contacted the DVLA and after several letters to me as POA, they revoked his license. To further ensure that this happened, I sold my father's car. For several months afterwards he was inconsolable at the loss of his freedom and I felt like the world's biggest ******* for doing so.

From then on my father thought that he had been to 'Court' and convicted of a serious and dangerous driving offence, which had resulted in him losing his license. He was terribly upset because he knew that he had an unblemished driving record for years. I did all I could to persuade him that it had not been like that. I bought a different car and my father decided that it was too technical for him to drive. It wasn't - it was just new and different.

It took a couple of years until he got over the loss of the car and his freedom. It was a very painful time, especially so since I had been instrumental in having his license revoked.

In retrospect, I did the right thing because it would have only been a matter of time before he really had a serious accident and perhaps unwittingly caused the death of other road users.

For my father [and myself], it was perhaps the major step that he took into his acceptance of growing older and forgetful and in to AD. It also represented the stage where I, as his child, had to step in and become the 'parent' figure in our family.

It represents the loss of a freedom that can never be regained and is a very painful step for all to undertake.



Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Similar experience

My father (years ago) started having fits as a result of a brain tumour, and was told firmly by our GP that he would have to stop driving for at least 6 months whilst the fits were brought under control. (This was before the inoperable/terminal diagnosis was made a few weeks later). Dad was only 52 at the time, and acted like someone had said they were going to take away both his legs; it was, it seemed, a major insult to his manhood & self-esteem and he NEVER accepted it, although he did do as he was told , I think since it had been presented to him as a temporary thing.

Six months later on the dot, he was in the GP surgery (on his own), demanding the right to drive again (he was usually a very polite, gentle man, but this had really got his goat). The Doctor who saw him wasn't our old GP whom we had all known for years, unfortunately, and this stranger told my Dad quite abruptly that he would never drive again, and that anyway the steroids which had reduced the size of his brain-tumour temporarily would soon begin to lose their effect anyway. In effect, but without using the word 'die', he said my Dad would die in about 6 weeks time, which is what happened. I can only think that he spoke to Dad in such a heartless way because Dad was belligerent to him. We could never find out what was actually said during that interview.

InMyName, I do urge you to approach your GP and get him/her to lay down the law to your Mum. The doctor (presumably?) knows of her dementia, but does not have to live with her every day, and receive torrents of venom. If you are seen to be the cause of it, you will suffer terribly from your Mum's fury & frustration. Failing that, as has been said elsewhere here, get someone to remove the rotor arm (it's inside the distributor cap) so the car just will not start, or one of the other subterfuges suggested. It will be too late to 'wish you had' if someone gets killed or maimed.

Good luck, you have my heartfelt sympathy for the difficult situation to deal with.


Since my Mother will not go near the doctor
Knows far better than absolutely anyone else
and i sure could never in 50 years have lived anywhere near her
there are few options open to me

Whatever i say to my Mother is taken the wrong way and she has jumped down my throat over everything for light years because of course she is perfect and i am a mere child and know nothing

The fact I have a tribe of grandchildren is irrelevant in her eyes

She tried giving the 11 year olds 5p off a car boot sale real baby toys for Xmas and then expected them to fall all over her with gratitude

She no longer signs cards and has not given me or others a Birthday or Xmas present for over 20 yrs and its definitely not a matter of cant afford it
I would say the symptoms of Alzheimers caused by aluminium poisoning in her case have been evident and increasing slowly for at least 10 years but are now progressing quite rapidly


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
My brother had MS and was stopped by police because of reckless driving - I asked if they could drop the charge because he was prepared to give up licence - that worked - I just rang the DVLA and it was accepted.

My husband volunteered giving up his licence - mainly cos the GP said he could not recommend it. He accepted that his medication meant he had to report the fact to the DVLA - we emphasised that it was required legally!!!! - we said that if they agreed to him continuing he would have to retake his driving licence (this did the trick as we are convinced he just did not want to undertake another test at 76 yrs!!). We were a little devious but near the truth - maybe that could work for you. It is hard but thank God we are over that problem. BeckyJan


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
Hi inmyname
are you soly responsible for you Mother,or are there any other family to share the problems with you?
I recall an old boy in our road years ago who became very forgetful,I do not know if he was ever diagnosed with Dementia.
He went out in his car one day nearly demolished a petrol station.
They telephoned the police who came out took him home in a police car, and took his licence off him on the spot.
He never got it back.
I think your best course of action is to notify the DVLA, or the insurance company only my opinion.


Registered User
May 4, 2005
Tyne & Wear

Hi inmyname

I've had a similar experience to others mentioned here but thought I'd let you know about it anyway. About 18 months ago now, it became very clear that Dad was becoming a danger on the road and we tried many times to pursuade him to give up to which he just repeated that he was a very good driver and had never had an accident (which was true). To cut a long story short, we spoke to the CPN about it and he called round and had a chat with Dad. Eventually, between us we managed to get Dad to agree to give up. That all sounds very easy but believe me it was anything but. He got very angry, he stormed out of the house, he cried, we cried. I felt the worst daughter in the world and was convinced he would hate me forever.

But slowly, after a few weeks, he began telling people that the Dr's had stopped him driving. This seemed to help him take the blame away from himself (and us thank goodness) and he still tells people this occasionally.

We had to consider not only Dad but other people he might hurt and even though it's been one of the most difficult things we've had to do so far, due to the nature of the disease we were lucky and he got over it fairly quickly.

I would suggest getting someone who may be more of an 'authority figure' to speak to your mother as she may listen to them more than you.

Good luck


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