ADHD and Driving in Great Britain (not Northern Ireland)

Disclose? Moi?

The below is a commentary on the information given on GOV.UK, the official website of the UK government.
Quotations from the website are given in italics.

I’m a diagnosed ADHDer that loves driving. In the 1990s I became an Approved Driving Instructor. Although retired from that I have an interest in road law and have become an advocate against what I see as abuses of the legal system by both central and local government.

I’m worried by comments that I’ve heard from recently diagnosed ADHDers about advice given them by medical professionals on the subject of driving.

I sit in on a number of medical appointments and have witnessed for myself the confused message that can be given, especially considering that the client is often punch drunk from the experience.

There are several common misconceptions and some professionals are woefully out of date – I revisit this subject every year or so and the wording on GOV.UK can change, which it has since I last checked a few months ago.

The advice given by professionals is important – it would be negligent not to discuss driving but any information needs to be spot on – once the cat of disclosing ADHD is out of the bag, at the DVLA, it isn’t going back in again and they can ruin someone’s life with a simple mistake in admin.

The newly diagnosed could do without the hassle of a fight with faceless bureaucrats to keep/get back their driving privileges.

Here’s what GOV.UK says


Telling DVLA about a medical condition or disability

You must tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and:

you develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability
a condition or disability has got worse since you got your licence

Notifiable conditions are anything that could affect your ability to drive safely. They can include:

other neurological and mental health conditions
physical disabilities
visual impairments

ADHD is clearly a potential notifiable condition so whether or not to disclose to the DVLA should be considered.
Telling someone that they should automatically disclose is foolhardy, for the reasons given above, unless there is a real concern that they are unsafe. If someone is unsafe then they should be told in very clear terms why that is the case and what is required of them.

The most recent changes to the text has made the position clearer, what they are looking for is someone that has ‘got worse since you got your licence‘.
Passing the UK driving test is difficult and it’s the official government approval of someone’s driving at that particular time.

Is a professional medic in the position to challenge this? If someone is clearly distractable or impulsive then they might not have the self awareness to know it – it’s clearly the medic’s job to tell them.

It’s worth discussing to find out where someone stands.

As a driver I make judgements all the time about my actions – should I do this, what could happen next and am I in a fit state to continue?

Yesterday I had a pint of shandy with my lunch and I drove afterwards. Later on I had another alcoholic drink (birthday) but I’d stopped driving for the day, we all have to consider at what point we transition from being a safe to an unsafe driver due to the variation in conditions (booze/weather/fatigue/familiarity with a vehicle or road etc).

I know of many people whose driving is ‘dodgy’. I don’t mean unsafe, I mean unsmooth or self restricted eg I know someone who won’t drive round a certain difficult roundabout – they’d prefer to walk home.

It’s a good decision, like my refusing to drive drunk. If something is beyond your safe capacity then don’t do it!

My point – anyone could be a legal driver and have driven to an assessment. Has the assessment changed their driving? If their pass was borderline and their condition is troubling then tell them to disclose.

What happens after a disclosure? The DVLA will write to the client’s doctor for opinion. It’s the opinion they should have given in the assessment, not kept a secret for later. That would be negligent of them since driving is a standard adult accomplishment.

I consider the blanket advice to disclose as a cop out and inconsiderate. Discuss driving and decide whether or not it’s an issue and go from there. If the client has a driving licence then questioning its validity, with that blanket disclosure advice, is tantamount to slandering the driving examiner that passed them. The caveat being that their driving capacity has decreased since the pass.

You must surrender your licence to DVLA if your doctor tells you that you need to stop driving for 3 months or more because of your medical condition.

You’ll usually get a decision within 6 weeks. You’ll get a letter from DVLA if it’s going to take longer.

DVLA might:

contact your doctor or consultant
arrange for you to be examined
ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving test

You can usually keep driving while DVLA are considering your application.

Is someone needs to disclose to the DVLA then they’ll need to disclose to their insurance company too. What will they do? They might withdraw cover. The premium should not change because they don’t have enough information to calculate their risk. Not yet.

When I started driving my sight was perfect, but now I need glasses. That’s a medical condition (visual impairment) which is listed but I don’t disclose…because it doesn’t affect my driving.

My eyes are definitely worse but I’m still within legal norms for eyesight, due to medical treatment (prescription – get glasses). Just because you have a condition it doesn’t necessarily follow that you need to disclose it, but you might.

I had ADHD when I passed the driving test when I was seventeen. I was a spotty, hormonal, mess with no driving experience. Many years later and I’m better in every way, apart from the eyes, and I’m also a treated ADHDer. Under the current rules I wouldn’t dream of disclosing, there is no upside but plenty of potential downside. If you are a legal driver, and are at least as good as when you passed, then you probably shouldn’t either.

If you are learning to drive then it’s worth talking to a decent professional that understands that there’s more to having a condition than the blanket approach.




Yes, that was definitely opinion.

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UK Survey of Adult Services

Yes, I know you’ll see the dread words of ‘children’ and ‘adolescents’ – but this is all about adults, or anyone 18 or older 😉

It really does take five minutes – I did it myself (why do so many survey people lie?).

Nothing hard, most of it is ticking boxes.

Click For Survey



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Happy New Year

I need to post something, now and again, to remind people that this page is still ‘live’.

It’s hard – the interweb is awash with ADHD stuff and I have little faith in my opinion, so don’t publish trivia from either.

It’s not as if I don’t have opinions ( I have opinions about everything, including things I haven’t heard about yet) but I have a modicum of self awareness, so don’t want to bore you with my meanderings. Errrrrrrrrrrrr.

I love a bit of irony, it proves I’m not a septic.

Did I mention it’s 2018?



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ADHD Action

A new advocacy has launched in the UK – ADHD action.

Lend them a hand – supply an ADHD story, put a few £££ their way – check out their website for ways to help

or just spread their name around on social media – publicity helps awareness.

Here’s a link to their website

ADHD Action

and their Facebook page

ADHD Action Facebook

Forward together!


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Bacteria Causes ADHD! (no they don’t)

Is it these guys?

Recently a fascinating report appeared in the medical press about how gut bacteria play a part in ADHD.

I nearly spat my drink onto my keyboard (I really need a waterproof keyboard).

Gut bacteria? ADHD?

What a complete load of tosh!

Is what I said to myself first.

The gut has been pulling surprises on us for years – first it was stomach ulcers not being caused by acid, but by bacteria – ulcers are now treated by antibiotics.

So although I found the bacteria/ADHD link hard to swallow (watch out for more gut puns) I came round to a sceptical-yet-open-to-more-information state.

I’m not convinced by the snippets I’ve seen so far – it’s been a bit thin on detail and bacteria are something I’ve not looked into – but it might go somewhere.

My point – be sceptical but open minded – weird stuff can turn out to be true.

Here’s a link



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Declaration – a play.

Art with Heart are touring Declaration – an exploration of one person’s experience of growing up with mental health issues.

Let me amend that…..

growing up neurodiverse ( info on neurodiversity).

Those with keen memories might remember that I wrote a review of this play ( link to my review ), which premiered last year but is about to go on tour.

Let’s just say that I liked it. A lot.

Let Art with Heart tell you about it.




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Rory Bremner on BBC Horizon

Rory Bremner has made a series of programs about ADHD, and his relationship with it, over a few years.

This particular time it’s a ‘Horizon’ documentary – it explores some of the whys and wherefores of ADHD.

It’s very accessible and I think it’s a good, representative, view.

Our thanks to ADHD Richmond for making this video accessible.



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Dr Temple Grandin Changed My Life

Dr Temple Grandin – Gamechanger.

Many, many years ago I watched a strange documentary about an awkward woman who understood animals, and who noticed that a proportion of them relaxed when in a ‘crush’ (a machine designed to hold them still, with gentle pressure).

She then explained trying it herself and how she described it matched how I experienced the world – I liked being cuddled hard and being nearly smothered under the sheer weight of blankets, which restrict your movements.

I knew at that point that I was an ADHDer but didn’t see it in her; I didn’t know autism at all.

But I felt a kinship with her, like we were related in some way, and it changed how I viewed the world, that there were more of us ‘outsiders’ and that we’d probably be better in some form of alliance.

Eventually I found out that developmental disorders (eg ADHD/autism/dyslexia etc) rarely occurs as one disorder in one person, so finding common ground with someone who primarily show the major symptoms of another disorder is ‘normal’.  That chance encounter made me think…and I nearly turned it off because it looked boring!

And now Dr Grandin has been recognised as a game changing individual and I’m chuffed to bits for her.

But if nobody had paid attention to her I wouldn’t have had that kick in my posterior to ‘do something’.




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Fun For ADHDers

And many others.

It’s just a bit of light relief, and many symptoms can occur in ‘normal’ people (see a psychiatrist for details).


Thanks to TotallyADD for not suing us 😀



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ADHD Child vs. Non-ADHD Child Interview

A video by ‘My Little Villagers’

An excellent depiction of how self esteem/self awareness get damaged very early on.



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