This week, an investigation carried out by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) identified that many vulnerable people with medical conditions and disabilities are having their driving licences revoked unfairly due to the DVLA’s (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) seemingly poor decision making.
Many are being banned from driving for an unjustifiable length of time, with some not able to apply for a new licence for several years. Surprisingly, some who do pose a risk to the public are again not being accessed properly and are keeping their licences. The PHSO’s findings are indeed worrying and frustrating for many whose lives have been negatively impacted by their inability to drive.
Some of the most notable cases were included in the report published on the PHSO’s website, “A professional lorry driver who had suffered a heart attack had to wait 17 months to reverse a decision to remove his licence, despite being symptom free. He lost his business in the process. A piano teacher who had suffered a stroke, but recovered, was needlessly prevented from driving for years due to DVLA failures, leaving her socially isolated, distressed and unable to work.
“In yet another case, DVLA wrongly interpreted a letter from a GP which explained that because their patient suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome he struggled to keep up with paperwork and that this should be taken into account if he was late submitting paperwork. DVLA wrongly assumed this was confirmation of a medical condition affecting the man’s ability to drive and incorrectly removed his licence a few days after receiving the letter.”
For many who rely on their ability to drive to get to work, see friends, visit family and go about their day as normal, these delays and lack of care can have an astronomical and irreversible impact.
Following the investigation, the DVLA has in fact come forward and apologised for their shortcomings. The DVLA’s chief executive, Oliver Morley, has said: “We are sorry for the way we handled the customers’ cases highlighted in the report. These eight very complex cases, however, date back to 2009 and since then the vast majority of the four million cases we’ve handled have been dealt with swiftly and correctly.”
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