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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Driving and the DVLA – Changes to guidance


OSA, Driving and the DVLA

Following discussions between The OSA Partnership Group and the DVLA relating to the requirements for driving with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), there have been some changes to the guidance provided for medical professionals.

These changes mean that if you are diagnosed with OSA but do not have sleepiness that impairs your ability to drive, you may continue to drive as normal and do not need to notify the DVLA.

If you have sleepiness and it is suspected that you may have OSA, you should stop driving but you do not have to notify the DVLA until a diagnosis has confirmed.

However, if OSA Syndrome, i.e. with sleepiness sufficient to impair driving is confirmed, you must not drive and must notify the DVLA.

We recommend the following steps:

  1. If you are a professional driver, who relies on your driving licence for your livelihood, mention this to your GP and request that they write to your local sleep centre to request fast tracked treatment within four weeks. Guidelines can be found here.
  2. Once OSA Syndrome has been confirmed, regardless of whether you are a type 1 or a type 2 licence holder, we recommend that you write to the DVLA (rather than calling the helpline number or online services). You must stop driving in the interim and start the recommended treatment.
  3. Once this treatment is successfully controlling your symptoms and your consultant has confirmed this, you may start driving once again and notify the DVLA that the symptoms are under control. Your licence won’t be affected as long as you comply with the treatment.

If you have any queries or concerns, please speak to your consultant.

One thought on “Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), Driving and the DVLA – Changes to guidance

  1. Does someone one wish to tell DVLA of this. My husband’s doctor did a fast track referral to the sleep clinic, it took 10 weeks but before he got his appointment. He made DVLA aware that he had been referred and before he was diagnosed they revoked (not suspended) his licence. Consultant faxed them a letter 23/10 to say he now met all the criteria to drive again, he also had a medical from his own doctor to confirm he was medically fit to drive, and 3 weeks later we are still waiting for DVLA to decide if he can get his licence back. No wonder people are reluctant to tell DVLA.

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