FIGURES just released show that millions of motorists on the roads of England and Wales are not disclosing notifiable medical conditions to the DVLA.
New analysis by Direct Line Car Insurance reveals that of the 35.3 million licence holders in England and Wales, an estimated 3.4 million have kept quiet about health conditions, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
Despite the estimated scale of the issue, the insurer found that in 2015 only 64 motorists in England and Wales were convicted and sentenced in court for offences relating to non-disclosure of medical issues.
This represents less than one per cent of all licence holders who have a medical condition but have not declared it.
The penalties for not declaring a medical condition include up to a £1,000 fine and the risk of prosecution if the driver is involved in an accident.
Medical conditions such as visual impairments, diabetes, heart conditions or epilepsy must be disclosed to the DVLA.
Additional researchby Direct Line reveals the reasons why drivers did not declare their medical conditions to the DVLA.
The majority presumed their condition did not affect their driving ability (51 per cent) and 14 per cent did not realise they had to inform them of the problem.
Worryingly, five per cent did not see the point in declaring it with the DVLA and four per cent had never thought of it.
One in twenty (five per cent) did not declare a medical condition to the DVLA out of concern that their licence would be taken away.
The fact remains that some medical conditions have more of an impact on driving ability than being over the drink-drive limit and there is a need for a more effective deterrent for flouting the law in this way.
Direct Line urges those who presume their condition will not affect their driving ability not to be complacent when it comes to declaring medical conditions.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you should inform the DVLA, call them to find out.
Over 8.8 million motorists (25 per cent) in England and Wales have a health condition with the most common being a heart condition (nine per cent).
The best idea is to contact the DVLA if you are unsure whether or not you need to disclose any information.
If your doctor has told you that you need to stop driving, you will need to send your licence to the DVLA.
If you have disclosed a medical condition and need to surrender your licence even temporarily, do so voluntarily as it may mean you can start driving again sooner.