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30 May 2024 | Comment | Article by Siobhan Thomas

A guide for UK drivers on renewing your driving licence at age 70

Siobhan Thomas, Partner in our Serious Injury team, provides guidance on renewal of a UK driving licence at age 70.

For many UK drivers, reaching the age of 70 marks a significant moment when renewing their driving licence becomes a legal requirement. While this may seem like a bureaucratic hurdle, it is a crucial step to ensuring road safety.

What are the rules for older drivers?

Currently there is no upper age limit for driving a car. All drivers must renew their driving licence when they reach the age of 70, and every 3 years thereafter. Renewing your driving licence at age 70 in the UK is a straightforward process, designed to assess your fitness to drive safely. Unlike the initial application for a licence, which often involves a practical driving test, renewal at age 70 only requires completing a form and self-assessment questionnaire. The renewal form is sent automatically from the DVLA 90 days before an individual’s 70th birthday.

The self-assessment questionnaire

The questionnaire is a critical component of the renewal process. It prompts drivers to evaluate their physical and mental fitness to drive safely. Questions cover a range of topics, including health conditions, medication usage, and any recent collisions or incidents on the road.

It is essential to answer these questions honestly and accurately, as they help determine whether additional medical assessments or driving evaluations are necessary. The goal is not to restrict a person’s freedom but to ensure the safety of both driver and others on the road.

Medical assessments

Depending on your responses to the self-assessment questionnaire, you may be required to undergo medical assessment to assess your fitness to drive. These assessments are conducted by healthcare professionals, often your GP or a designated medical practitioner.

Medical assessments may include vision tests, cognitive assessments, and discussions about specific health conditions that could affect your ability to drive safely. While it may seem daunting, these assessments are intended to support you in maintaining your independence while ensuring road safety.

Practical driving test

In some cases, drivers aged 70 and above may be asked to take a practical driving test as part of the renewal process. This is more common if there are concerns about your ability to drive safely based on your self-assessment questionnaire or medical assessments.

The practical driving test is similar to the test taken when obtaining your initial driving licence. It assesses your ability to operate a vehicle safely in various road and traffic conditions. Whilst the prospect of taking a test may feel nerve wracking, it is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and ensure that you are still fit to drive independently.

In addition, having a driving assessment can help provide reassurance to both you and your family that you continue to remain a safe driver.

Possible consequences of failing to report a medical condition to DVLA

A driver can be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects their driving. You may also be prosecuted if you are involved in a road traffic collision as a result.

It is also important to bear in mind that certain medical conditions can affect car insurance. Therefore, a policyholder has a duty to disclose to their insurance company any medical conditions which could affect their driving.

A claim on your car insurance could be invalidated if you have failed to disclose a notifiable medical condition, or for example if your eyesight doesn’t meet the legal minimum requirement.

In more serious cases, continuing to drive with poor eyesight or an undisclosed medical condition could result in causing death or life changing injuries.

Anonymous reporting to DVLA

If you see dangerous driving, whether that be an intoxicated and disorderly driver, or an elderly driver seemingly with eyesight or co-ordination issues, it is important that the incident is reported to prevent them causing a serious collision which could prove fatal.

The DVLA has a section on its website that allows you to fill in an incident form. The box at the bottom requires you to provide as many details as possible about the person you are reporting, their fitness to drive and if there were any incidents you would like to report.

The form asks for personal details but there is a statement on the form to tell you that your information will not be released to anyone or any third parties. You will also be asked to provide the details of the driver in question, including their name, address etc. You will also be asked for their driving licence number if it is known. After the form has been submitted the DVLA may get back in contact with you for further information and they will take the appropriate action.

The DVLA general enquiries form offers the chance to report on a lot of subject matters. The relevant section you will need when reporting a driving incident will be ‘I have concerns over a person’s fitness to drive and I wish to tell the DVLA’.

Similarly, if you have a loved one that you suspect is not fit to drive, you should advise that they visit a GP and get their opinion. Research has shown that people are more likely to listen to their GP than they would to a friend or family member when it comes to the safety of their driving.


Renewing your driving licence at age 70 is not just a legal requirement, it is a chance to embrace change and take responsibility for your safety and the safety of others on the road. It is an acknowledgement that as we age, our abilities may change, and it is essential to adapt accordingly.

By approaching the renewal process with honesty, openness and willingness to address any challenges that may arise, you can continue to enjoy the freedom and independence that driving affords whilst prioritising safety above all else. As a society we all play a part in sharing that responsibility.

Remember, your driving licence is not just a piece of plastic – it’s about safeguarding lives and ensuring a brighter, safer future on the road.

The Serious Injury team specialises in supporting families after catastrophic injuries and fatal incidents such as road traffic collisions. We offer legal advice to those suffering a life changing injury or families suffering the loss of a loved one.

Author bio

Siobhan Thomas


Siobhan Thomas represents individuals who have suffered a serious injury through no fault of their own. Many of her clients have experienced traumatic events and life changing injuries, that have seriously affected not only their health and wellbeing, but that of their loved ones too.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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