Driving

5. When DVLA/DVA decides that the person must stop driving

If DVLA/DVA decides that the person cannot continue driving, the person must return their driving licence to DVLA/DVA and stop driving. For drivers who wish to appeal, a formal petition must be lodged with the Magistrates' Court within six months in England and Wales, and at a Sheriff's Court within 21 days in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, an appeal must be lodged with the appropriate Clerk of Petty Sessions within three months of the refusal (revocation) letter being issued.

During this time, someone who has appealed against removal of their licence is not allowed to drive, even if they think their appeal is justified.

People react to being told to stop driving in different ways. For some it is a relief but many people feel it as a loss. A few are very angry with the decision - perhaps because they underestimate the impact of dementia on their driving skills. See 'Tips: supporting someone who is no longer driving' on helping someone with this change.

If the person refuses to stop driving

Some people who have been assessed by DVLA/DVA as being unsafe still refuse to stop driving. This may be despite their doctor's advice and people's attempts to encourage them to stop, and suggesting other alternatives. It can be a very difficult and upsetting situation for both the person and their family.

It is important to recognise that the person is probably not being deliberately difficult. Instead, the dementia itself may mean that the person does not realise how their symptoms affect their driving. In some cases the person may be in denial about their diagnosis, or keep forgetting that their licence has been cancelled.

In such cases the person's doctor or family should write in confidence to DVLA/DVA. The agency will follow things up with the local police. Many carers choose to hide the car keys or - if these are options - sell the car or park it where it is not a constant visible reminder. If you are supporting a person with dementia who is refusing to stop driving and need help, call Alzheimer's Society's National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or talk to others on the online discussion forum, Talking Point.