Driving and Dementia - Leaflet
Driving with a Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) Or a Dementia Diagnosis
Do I have to stop driving if I have Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?
Having a diagnosis of dementia or MCI (a term used to describe early memory and thinking problems), is not in itself a reason to stop driving.
In fact the Alzheimer’s society reports that 1 in 3 people who have dementia can still drive and even if you can’t drive, there are lots of alternatives such as public transport. What is important is:
• Knowing that you are able to drive safely.
• If you do have a diagnosis of dementia, then it is a legal requirement that you have to inform the DVLA of this, (this is not the case with MCI)
Why does it make a difference to driving?
Although driving can feel automatic, especially if you have done it for a long time, it is actually complicated and memory loss can affect skills like concentration, reaction times and spatial skills which can impact on how safe it is for you to drive.
What are the next steps if I want to continue driving?
Firstly, if diagnosed with a dementia you have a legal requirement to inform the DVLA of your diagnosis. They may not stop you from driving as this decision is often made on the outcome of medical information and guidance, but failure to tell them is an offence and can result in a fine of up to £1,000.
If the DVLA believes you are safe to continue driving, they will issue a new driving license that will last for a set period of time before it needs reviewing again. MCI does not class as a dementia diagnosis and so does not have to be reported unless it is affecting your driving.
To tell the DVLA you can go online, write to them with your information, or fill in a CG1 form. The information about this is available on www.gov.uk On the website type in ‘dementia and driving’ to find the relevant information. Or if you ask the team supporting you they can provide a form for you. You must also inform your insurance company, failure to do so could impact
upon future claims as it can make your policy invalid.
How do I know if I am safe to carry on driving?
The DVLA may make this decision for you based on information from medical professionals involved in your care but if not there are a few things to look out for which could indicate that it might be time to stop driving:
• Feeling that your driving and safety reactions have slowed.
• Struggling to understand road signs and directions or becoming lost on familiar journeys.
• Other people, such as family, start to raise concerns about your driving.
• You have lost confidence in your ability to drive.
• You find it difficult to problem solve
If you or family are unsure about whether your driving is safe, you can complete a driving assessment. These are not driving tests but look at whether your cognitive problems are
affecting things like your reaction speed and decision-making when driving.
The team looking after your care can give you information on these and how to book an assessment. The DVLA can also request for one of these assessments to be completed.
There is a cost for these assessments, which may be reduced if referred by a professional.
If I am allowed to keep driving, can I do anything to stay safe?
If the DVLA decide you can keep driving there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk of accidents or getting lost:
• Stick to short, familiar journeys where possible and try not to go alone.
• Only drive when visibility is good- Try to only drive in the day and in good weather conditions.
• Make sure you don’t feel tired or unwell before driving.
• Make sure that none of your medication is going to interfere with your ability to drive - Talk to those responsible for your care if you aren’t sure.
• Avoid distractions, such as loud music, where possible
• If you are willing, tracking devices are available that you can take with you and would aid in locating you if you were to get lost or come into difficulty whilst out.
• Take a mobile phone with you with key numbers saved in it.
Where can I get more information?
DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DL. www.dvla.gov.uk
The Alzheimer’s Society: www.alzheimers.org.uk
For specific driving information: www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/stayingindependent/
Worcestershire transport information: www.worcestershire.gov.uk
For travel specific information: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20552/transport_and_travelling
Herefordshire transport information: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/traveltransport
Driving assessments: https://www.drivingmobidriving-assessments/lity.org.uk/our-services/