New data obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVLA reveals how many drivers have lost their licences on medical grounds in the past five years.
In total, 363,000 UK drivers have had licences revoked since 2014. Of that number, 307,000 were car drivers or motorcycle riders, while 55,000 were lorry or bus drivers.
The number of licences withdrawn reached a peak of 73,724 in 2018. Indeed, for the past three years it has been over 70,000, compared with 48,941 in 2014.
Number of licences medically revoked (Group 1 & 2)
2019 (to date)
So far this year, more than 40,000 drivers have been taken off the road. The most common reason for revocation is alcohol. It accounts for 15 percent, or 5,450 drivers.
Seizures, eyesight, and memory problems follow, with 5,417, 4,534 and 4,175 revocations respectively.
Nine percent of licence revocations so far this year were due to mental health, totalling 3,268.
Number of licences revoked
% of all medical licence revocations
Sleeping at the wheel
In the last 18 months, 2,865 car and motorcycle drivers/riders have lost their licences due to sleep-related conditions.
Over the same period, 920 bus and lorry drivers were removed from the roads for the same reason.
“These figures make for quite frightening reading, but they could be just the tip of the iceberg,” said Alex Buttle, director of car comparison website, Motorway.
“How many people are driving with a medical condition and haven’t informed the authorities? You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving, but is that really a strong enough deterrent?
“With so many of us reliant on our cars for work and pleasure, there will be drivers on the road who think it’s worth the risk to keep quiet because handing in their driving licence could mean losing their mobility, their job and not seeing their family and friends.”