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Bipolar II and driving.

(33 Posts)
WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:01:39

I know I have to inform the dvla and I am working up to it. But I need my car! How likely is it that I'll lose my license?

I've looked online but can't find any information. Has anyone on here kept their license with a Bipolar II diagnosis?

Posting here for traffic as MH section is quiet.

maggiethemagpie Fri 08-Jul-16 14:08:37

No idea if you can drive or not, but I have had experience of the DVLA medical section due to another medical condition, and they can be very draconian if you do not meet the criteria for driving.

I know people who've had their license revoked for filling in the form wrong or ticking the wrong box and it was then a massive job to get it back, so just make sure you fill in the form correctly and check it before you send.

Also they will probably need to get info from your GP or consultant, I always go to see mine before I complete my renewal form (luckily I have passed the criteria ) to make sure they will not be saying anything different to what I put

Properly stresses me out no end every time I apply for renewal.

maggiethemagpie Fri 08-Jul-16 14:10:35

This may help

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:11:06

Thank you!

maggiethemagpie Fri 08-Jul-16 14:12:53

It does say you cannot drive if you have mania or hypomania, but if you've been stable in the past three months and can meet the other criteria then they can consider an exemption.

Good luck.

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:14:54


Looks like I'll be doing the school run on the bus then.

monkeyfacegrace Fri 08-Jul-16 14:16:34

What??! I have bipolar and have never considered driving an issue confused

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:18:12

It's a notifiable condition!

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:18:41

You can be fined and even prosecuted of you don't inform the dvla.

nightstories Fri 08-Jul-16 14:22:18

I had my license removed due to bipolar, to be fair my manic phases were very extreme and it definitely affected my driving to the point that it was quite dangerous. But on the upside, I did get a free travel pass from my council, so I save a lot of money on transport now grin

monkeyfacegrace Fri 08-Jul-16 14:22:24

Oh well. Without my car I'd be confined to my house and things would be a million times worse. I'm normal, have been normal for a long long time and won't be bloody declaring anything hmm

It's bollocks like this that stops people getting help.

monkeyfacegrace Fri 08-Jul-16 14:23:12

Oooh a free travel pass you say? Does that include unlimited taxis? grin

AllTheFluffyAnimals Fri 08-Jul-16 14:24:43

I have a friend with bipolar one which is quite severely, she still drives with all the official notifications etc

stumblymonkey Fri 08-Jul-16 14:26:02

What medication are you on? Does it say that you shouldn't drive while taking it?

Have you been hospitalised due to bipolar and, if so, when?

I declared. I had been hospitalised (voluntary) for severe depression the year before but my medication doesn't say that you can't drive and doesn't cause drowsiness.

They gave me a licence for one year and then I had to renew (no cost) where they checked my latest medical records. I hadn't been hospitalised since so now I have a three year licence at which point they will check again.

stumblymonkey Fri 08-Jul-16 14:28:45

Just be aware that if you have a notifiable condition and haven't declared to the DVLA your car insurance will be invalid if your insurers find out (not to mention the prosecution and fine).

It's not there to put unnecessary blocks in the way only to make sure that people are safe to drive....don't you remember the driver in Glasgow that killed six people because he drove when he wasn't medically fit?!

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:29:21

I'm on sertraline and Lamotrigine (but only just started the Lamotrigine so it's a very low dose at the moment).

I've had a hypomanic episode lasting three weeks a couple of months ago, but I wasn't out of control, just agitated and didn't sleep or eat.

I know I need to notify them but I'm putting it off. If I can just drive until the end of term it'll be a lot easier. Do you think waiting three weeks is ok?

stumblymonkey Fri 08-Jul-16 14:30:07


If you are 'normal' (whatever that means, presumably 'stable') then what do you have to lose by declaring?

user1467101855 Fri 08-Jul-16 14:31:06

* and they can be very draconian if you do not meet the criteria for driving*

I know people who've had their license revoked for filling in the form wrong or ticking the wrong box and it was then a massive job to get it back, so just make sure you fill in the form correctly and check it before you send

By draconian you mean doing their job? If you don't meet the criteria for driving they won't let you drive. That isn't draconian at all.

And if you fill the form in wrong in such a way that the form says you are not to drive, then of course they take your license. That is what the form is FOR.

Seriously, wtf?

stumblymonkey Fri 08-Jul-16 14:32:37

Wibbly...your GP will be able to give you a good idea as to what the DVLA are likely to think about your meds.

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 08-Jul-16 14:41:23

Thank you. I'll go and see her next week.

Holliewantstobehot Fri 08-Jul-16 14:47:16

My Bil has bipolar. He was still allowed to drive until his medication was changed. He now has a free bus pass.

BabyDubsEverywhere Fri 08-Jul-16 14:56:37

Not a single member of my 'psyche team' has mentioned this in ten years! I had no idea!

maggiethemagpie Fri 08-Jul-16 14:58:24

user, they are draconian. They should give people the opportunity to resubmit the form rather than revoke and then have to reapply if they have filled it in wrong.

Sure if someone genuinely isn't fit to drive it should be revoked, but if someone has filled in the form wrong and then realises their error don't you think that's a bit harsh? Clearly not........

maggiethemagpie Fri 08-Jul-16 15:01:26

Wibbly, if you were to see your doctor and say you'd not had any hypomanic episodes in the past three months (or thereabouts) you may be ok. I think you need a report from your doctor to confirm you are fit to drive though.

Go and see your GP I'm sure they've filled in many of these forms before so will know the rules.

jacks11 Fri 08-Jul-16 16:05:13

I understand it is worrying to face having restrictions put on your licence and I'm sure many people who should notify DVLA of a medical condition don't because they fear losing their licences.

That said, I think you should notify them as soon as possible- you have have a legal obligation to inform the DVLA and you should do so as soon as you are aware of the condition. Failure to let DVLA know could lead to a fine and potentially prosecution. You could lose your licence entirely/have to resit your test after a period of being banned.

Not only that but it will invalidate your insurance- in the event that you were unlucky enough to have an accident they may not pay out (if they found out about your condition) and you will be personally liable for all costs. In addition, most insurance companies require you to let them know if you have a notifiable condition (some insurers don't, but they are rarer) and in the terms of most policies it says you must inform them if you are later diagnosed with a notifiable condition. Failure to do either of these things will not only invalidate your insurance but your insurance company would be within their rights to cancel your insurance and this is likely to make it very expensive, or even impossible, to get insurance in the future (and not just car insurance, either).

I can understand the worry about losing your licence or having temporary restrictions put on you, and I can also understand how tempting it can be to not inform the DVLA as it can seem unlikely that they could find out (although your Dr could inform the DVLA themselves if they know that you have not informed the DVLA despite having been advised to- though they would have to tell you they are doing so and it's not something which is done lightly or frequently).

I would encourage you to do things properly because I have seen first hand the potentially serious impact of not doing so and being found out. I have a family member who had a notifiable condition who didn't bother to inform DVLA (or insurance company) because not being able to drive would have made life really difficult and they really didn't think they'd be found out. They thought even if they did it would be a minor thing and a small fine or something. Unfortunately, they had an accident.

Through this, the insurance company found out about their condition. The insurance company declared the insurance invalid and cancelled the policy. They then refused to pay for the cost of repair for either vehicle or the legal costs etc. This has been financially disastrous for them. The insurance company also passed the information on to the DVLA, who investigated and this led to a big fine and legal proceedings as they were deemed to be driving without insurance and also for non-disclosure. This led to licence being lost for a long period. Having an insurance policy cancelled has meant getting other kinds of insurance has been more difficult and expensive, with some companies refusing even to provide a quote. Just be aware of the potential consequences should you be found out.

Lastly, I would say that notifiable conditions are notifiable for a reason and this because it is possible that your medical condition could make it unsafe for you to drive. Imagine how you'd feel if you did cause serious harm to others or yourself when you were driving whilst unsafe to do so. Look at the Glasgow bin lorry driver and the grief he has caused- I do recognise that your condition is different and I'm guessing you don't have an HGV licence so the situation and degree of risk are different, but the principle still applies IMO.

Sorry for the long post. As I said, I've seen the devastating effect of not declaring and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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