Here’s the latest instalment.
The saga continues and my frustration mounts but at least I have an answer.
The answer was no, this I can accept. Their grounds for rejection were that their medical guidelines require I wait at least two years post surgery. My Neurosurgeon had suggested this would be the case when he told me he would support my application so I was half prepared for their answer.
There remain a number of matters in my dealings with the DVLA Drivers Medical Unit that I’m having some trouble coming to terms with though.
a) The extraordinary time it took to process my application
I posted my application on 6 June 2013 and received the rejection letter on 15 February 2014, over 7 months later. I was initially told by the DVLA Drivers Medical Group it would take 6-12 weeks.
b) DVLA Drivers Medical Group internal processes
The application form submitted to the DVLA Drivers Medical Group included all relevant information on the dates of my initial seizure and surgery etc. The DVLA Drivers Medical Group knew the key dates as soon as they received my application yet they still chose to correspond with my Neurosurgeon to gather more medical information. Even though I’ve asked the DVLA Drivers Medical Group why they even bothered to contact my Neurosurgeon given the guidelines they applied when rejecting my application, I still don’t understand their rationale for doing this and why it took them so long to work out I was within their two year time frame. The guidelines seem pretty clear to me and not related to medical expertise. Contacting my Neurosurgeon and then ignoring his support for my application seems to me a total waste of effort for what turned out to be a time based decision using unambiguous guidelines.
c) Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act – I only learned about this during a chase-up call with a couple of weeks ago. This section would have allowed me to drive whilst my application was being dealt with by the DVLA Drivers Medical Group. Too late for that now though. Apparently, as they have now rejected my application I’m now specifically excluded from driving under s88 when I lodge my next application.
So where to from here?
I just need to look forward and not back.
The only upside is that I can re-apply to have my licence reinstated again two months prior to the second anniversary. I’ll be sure to put my next application in the mail right on the 25 th of March. Then it’s up to the DVLA Drivers Medical Group to process it. I’m not expecting to have another seizure so as I understand things I should have success next time round. It’s just going to be a matter of how long it takes the DVLA Drivers Medical Group to contact my Neurosurgeon and go through their internal process. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take them seven months next time.
I’d be interested to hear comments from anyone else who has faced or is about to face the DVLA Drivers Medical Group. For anyone seeking advice on how to proceed, my suggestions would be:
- Understand the DVLA’s Medical Guidelines in regard to your condition – you are probably best getting this from your doctor and confirming with the DVLA prior to submitting an application for licence reinstatement.
- Research the implications and provisions of Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act and use them to your benefit after making your application. I never got the point of relying on this and am unsure how insurers would react when faced with this information. My experience with insurers since voluntarily surrendering my licence has not been that positive and very stressful.
- Be prepared to follow-up regularly with the DVLA Drivers Medical Group regarding the status of your application once submitted.
- Be patient and stay calm – this is something I have not always achieved over nearly 12 months of dealing with the DVLA Drivers Medical Group and Insurers alike. They don’t always understand the frustration you will likely experience just trying to get back on your motorcycle.
Feel free to contact me – I’ll listen, I’ve been to the depths of despair and I’ll give you the benefit of my experience to get you back on your motorcycle as soon as possible. The rules are a little tricky but can be negotiated successfully if known upfront and not learned along the way like I have.
I probably would have made different choices or asked more questions had I been fully appraised at the beginning of this journey.
But now I just have to wait – it’s in the hands of the DVLA judges/jury and I have little influence on how long they take to process my next application.