DVLA’s driving licence delay is costing a fortune

My employer has had to hire taxis and the courts service is providing transport to get me to court

I surrendered my driving licence at the start of 2021 after having an epileptic seizure. I was not allowed to drive for a year. In December I was invited to apply for a new licence, having had no seizures in that time, ahead of the ban expiring on 26 January.

However, six months on, my licence still hasn’t been issued. I live in a village with one bus a day – out at 9.45am and back at 12.30pm.

Since January my employer (the local council) has been spending between £500 and £800 a month on taxis so I can carry out my job as a school improvement officer.

I am also a magistrate, and HM Courts & Tribunals Service has spent more than £450 getting me to court sittings.

At the start of May, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) contacted my doctor, and he confirmed I was medically fit to drive (and had been since January).

On 27 May, a letter confirmed the DVLA doctor had also given the go-ahead, along with a request for an up-to-date photograph, which I supplied.

I heard nothing until I received another letter on 14 July that said my application had been rejected because of a mistake on the form, but it had been sent to the wrong person!

I was advised to fill out a new form and supply another photo.

SB, Great Gidding

The longer wait times on medical applications have, in your case, been exacerbated by human error. When you had a seizure eight years ago, you followed the same process, and the licence arrived the day after the suspension lifted.

The DVLA says: “Our driver and vehicle transactions are all within normal processing times. The only applications where there may be delays is those applications where we are often reliant on receiving information from third parties such as NHS medical professionals. Mistakes causing delays to processing an application are rare.”

The agency says turnaround times are improving thanks to extra staff and a recent law change that means that a wider pool of healthcare professionals can complete medical questionnaires.

Nonetheless, your experience has been appalling.

After we raised your case, the DVLA acted swiftly and you have an email confirming you can drive ahead of your licence arriving in the post.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

• This article was amended on 15 August 2022 to change a reference in line with Guardian style guidance.


Zoe Wood

The GuardianTramp

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