Record number of lorry drivers fail DVLA medical tests

Screening for drugs, alcohol, sight problems and health issues

by Sarah Barth   September 23, 2012  

HGV skip lorry cordoned off at the scene of a cyclist s death.jpg

A record number of lorry and bus drivers have lost their licences in the last year for health, sight and alcohol and drug reasons, the DVLA has revealed.

4,706 drivers were banned, up around 40 per cent on last year.

Drivers of larger vehicles, who have a Group 2 licence, and are aged over 45 have to pass a DVLA medical examination, which these drivers all failed. Group 2 licences are renewable thereafter every five years to age 65 years unless restricted to a shorter period for medical reasons. The medical standards for Group 2 are much higher than those for regular licences, because of the size and weight of the vehicle.

707 drivers suffered from sight problems, 10 had double vision and 31 could only see out of one eye.

261 were abusers of alcohol and 159 had drug problems.

More than 600 were angina sufferers, 173 had angina, and 227 had had a heart attack.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond told the Daily Express: “Britain’s roads are among some of the safest in the world and licensing rules have an important role in maintaining this.”

HGVs, large lorries or refuse collection vehicles are involved in two thirds of cyclist deaths in London. Cyclists involved in collisions with HGVs are 78 times more likely to be killed than those hit by a car, and the majority of these deaths happen after large vehicles turn across the cyclist’s path.

Tom Bogdanowicz, campaigns manager for the London Cycling Campaign, told the Telegraph at New Year:

"The data showing the far higher risk of serious injury in collisions with HGVs emphasises the urgent need for all lorry operators, especially councils, to provide specialised awareness training for drivers which is now available as part of the TfL Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS)”, he said.

“It is unacceptable that a third of London councils have still not joined FORS, the quality standard for lorry operators."

8 user comments

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"4,706 drivers were banned, up around 40 per cent on last year." GOOD!

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
24th September 2012 - 2:14


Correct me if i'm wrong here, But you can only hold a HGV if you past your test in 1992 or before, otherwise it would be a LGV

Bus drivers pass a different test, they do a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle)

I know a number of bus drivers with PCV's who have suffered a heart attack in the past and still pass their medical to driver a service bus for Stagecoach.

Then on the other hand, a close family friend had his medical for Stagecoach last week. Because of certain circumstances in his life recently, he's been under alot of stress. His blood pressure was high and he has been given two weeks off to sort things out and see if his pressure comes down.

So I don't know about these figures above as they are quoting for HGV which is out dated Thinking

Also, new regulations coming in for medical standards next year.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9364 posts]
24th September 2012 - 2:23


You're right, Gkam, it's lorries and buses rather than HGVs. Thanks.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1267 posts]
24th September 2012 - 4:13


Good use of a photo too - skippers and tippers have a particularly high accident record


posted by OldRidgeback [2581 posts]
24th September 2012 - 10:34


Concerning suspension of a licence following medical issues does anyone else find the following a touch odd?

Holders of the regular driving licence or PCV can have their licence indefinitely suspended or revoked by DVLA for certain health issues (such as newly diagnosed epilepsy until the medication is correctly calculated) in order to ensure no-one is killed and quite right too.

In contrast when a 'healthy' driver does actually kill someone 'accidentally' (such as when the car drives itself at 80mph and forces the driver to pick his phone up and update his facebook page Crying) they are given at best a fixed and very much temporary suspension then allowed to get on with it, business as usual as we see far too much.

Based on the above logic any lorry driver who has failed a medical should argue that as they haven't killed anyone (yet) they should be allowed to drive as those who have already 'accidentally' slaughtered another human being are not prevented from driving in the way that they are. Am I missing something here or is this just more 'allow the motorist to do whatever they please' government thinking?!!

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [210 posts]
24th September 2012 - 13:30


I'm not sure if I should be encouraged by the action taken or scared by the number of drivers who didn't think it might have been a good idea to hand their lorry keys in.

Double vision?!

posted by Coleman [331 posts]
24th September 2012 - 16:11


Coleman wrote:
I'm not sure if I should be encouraged by the action taken or scared by the number of drivers who didn't think it might have been a good idea to hand their lorry keys in.

Double vision?!

It might make it safer if they have 2 cyclists to avoid.

posted by paulfg42 [395 posts]
24th September 2012 - 18:20


This is good news about lorry and bus drivers, but given the apalling standards of driving I see every day in London and the South East it is time they started carrying out a few more checks on all motorists. I'd start with doing a few spot checks on whether motorists are actually wearing the glasses they should be for motoring. I speak to a lot of motorists who seem to think its OK to drive without their glasses, despite the fact that they have been told they should wear them for driving. This could perhaps explain why so many motorists pass me with only a few inches to spare.

posted by Grumpyoldbiker [16 posts]
25th November 2012 - 18:32