The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2021
Jurisdiction: Great Britain
Commencement: 15th November 2021
- The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999
The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 set health and safety obligations related to driving licences, tests of competence to drive, drivers conduct for goods and passenger vehicles as well as training courses for motorcycle riders, are established. Part VI (Disabilities) covers disabilities which must be declared on a driving licence.
N.B. The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 change the restrictions on driving licence applicants and driving licence holders with diabetes. They also amend the terms in which a person’s diabetes is a prescribed as a relevant disability.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person with a relevant disability is denied a licence unless they can meet certain prescribed conditions.
A declaration must be made if the applicant suffers from diabetes treated with medication that carries a risk of inducing hypoglycaemia* (including insulin, sulphonylureas and glinides). In this case, the condition will be classed as a relevant disability if the applicant has had 2 or more episodes of severe hypoglycaemia** during the previous year, or there is an impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia***.
However, applicants with diabetes treated with insulin are not barred from obtaining a Group 1 licence if they do not have impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia, has been without more than one severe hypoglycaemic attack for a year and meets other conditions set out in the Regulations.
*Hypoglycaemia is condition resulting in a low blood sugar level. It causes irregular or rapid heartbeat, pale skin, numbness of lips, tongue or cheek, and sweating.
**Severe hypoglycaemia means an episode of hypoglycaemia requiring the assistance of another person.
***Impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia means the inability to detect the onset of hypoglycaemia because of total absence of warning symptoms.
Regulation 3 of the amendment makes changes to regulation 73 of the 1999 Regulations so that disabilities must be declared in relation to Group 2 licence applications (for larger vehicles including heavy goods vehicles and buses).
A declaration must be made if the applicant suffers from diabetes treated with medication that carries a risk of inducing hypoglycaemia. In this situation, the condition will be classed as a relevant disability if the applicant has had one or more episodes of severe hypoglycaemia during the previous one-year period, or where there is no full awareness of hypoglycaemia.
However, applicants with diabetes treated with insulin for over 4 weeks, are not barred from obtaining a Group 2 licence if there is full awareness of hypoglycaemia, there has been no severe hypoglycaemic attack for a year, and other conditions concerning diabetes are met.
Regulation 4 of the amendment requires the Secretary of State to carry out a review of regulation 2 and regulation 3 of the same amendment at least every five years. The conclusions of the review must be published in a report.
- A person holding a full category B driving licence can apply for provisional entitlement for category or subcategory C + E, C1 + E, D + E or D1 + E (previously, a driving licence in category C or category D respectively was required).
- The additional provisional entitlements will not be added to a person’s licence if that person already has a full licence for vehicles of a class in that category or sub-category.
- The removal of staging* for category C + E and D + E licences brings further test elements for applicants (see regulation 6 of this amendment for details).
- A person who holds a licence that allows them to drive a vehicle combination of a class in a category that includes a heavy trailer (i.e. the + E categories), will also be allowed to drive a vehicle of a class in the equivalent category that does not include a heavy trailer (this is to ensure a driver is able drive a tractor with the heavy trailer unhitched).
- Finally, a person who has made an application for a relevant provisional licence before 15th November 2021, does not need to make an additional application for the provisional entitlements they would be eligible for.
*Staging is the process of adding a higher category entitlement to a driving licence, i.e. a category B driving licence would be needed before applying for provisional entitlement to drive a lorry or a bus.
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