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Covid 19 and the DVLA

Covid 19 and the DVLA

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Windy23/03/2021 23:44:12
887 forum posts
189 photos

Covid 19 and delays with the DVLA licence medical eye test.

I have to have every 3 years since 2005 a DVLA eye test now done at Specsavers and have passed every time.

My medical driving licence details were sent in October 2020 was notified tests will be delayed due to Covid.

I phone every month and told the same..

My driving licence expired beginning of January and my Doctor can not give me a fit to drive because of specialist eye test required.

Not bothered me too much because of lockdown but have to rely on others getting me essentials for living as walking is not that good nowadays..

After talking to a very sick neighbour who spent 3 hours to talk to another Government department was told to not phone again and use the Internet.

He has no Internet and would not know how to use one.

Am starting to wonder if this virus is used as an excuse so that manual brain power does not have to be used and they prefer tick boxes using a computer

I know last year Swansea had virus problems in 2020 with staff but I seem as am lost in their system.

Nigel Graham 223/03/2021 23:59:26
2009 forum posts
27 photos

I wonder if you are better writing to them, copying it to the Dept. of Transport and your MP (with a note explaining your doing that to show their using the pandemic to excuse laziness, complacency or incompetence).

I think your neighbour is falling victim to the malaise affecting so many official and commercial bodies (banks etc), by which they imagine that because something can be done on the Internet, no other method exists and by extension anyone forced to use other methods can be ignored.

It offers a ready way to fob people off. .An e-mail is very easy simply to ignore and delete; a web-site is a very easy way to refuse help, including by giving no contact details other than itself. (Unless you want to buy something!)

I am a bit suspicious that the disease is being used as an excuse to avoid giving you your eye-tests, because the dentists and GPs are still working fairly normally, albeit with all the precautions. Have you tried another optician?

Windy24/03/2021 00:28:38
887 forum posts
189 photos

When I phone at 8am this Saturday if no progress my local MP will be informed and see if she will do anything to help.

Have spoken to the DVLA approved Optician and until they have details from DVLA nothing can done.

Before Covid two elderly friends were having problems using a certain type of eye test machine as regards medical driving licence.

They had successful eye tests at other opticians what a carry on if you don't use the one DVLA use you upset their system...

Keith Long24/03/2021 00:39:04
876 forum posts
11 photos

I'm in much the same situation but if you look on the DVLA website there is a note that suggests that driving licences were given an automatic 11 months extension. My licence "expired" in October 2020 but I had very little problem with getting the use of a loan car - with insurance on the dealers policy, while my own car was being serviced, and the dealer DID check with their insurance company.

I believe that the problem with the eye tests is that some of the machines used for the field tests cannot be sanitised between examinations due to the effects of the sanitiser on the surface of the bowl. I arranged for an eye test with Boots last October and there was no problem, but they did not carry out the field test. Face masks and appropriate protective gear had to be worn by both the tester and the person being tested.

martin perman24/03/2021 08:08:41
2042 forum posts
86 photos

AS a type 2 Diabetic who injects insulin my licence is restricted to three years, I received my paperwork before Christmas as the licence ran out this March, I left it until January to go onto the Website to renew it but after a while trying to give answers that I couldnt give I gave up and filled in the paperwork and posted it, within a week I had my new licence.

Martin P

SillyOldDuffer24/03/2021 09:14:13
8469 forum posts
1885 photos

These are extraordinarily difficult times and nothing is 'normal'. A government that values personal freedom has forbidden holidays. And after spending a decade energetically reducing public expenditure, the amount of money borrowed by government to pay for Covid is large beyond comprehension.

So far Covid has killed about 4 times more people than the blitz and there are unpleasant hints a third wave is starting. There is also concern the vaccines won't be effective against one of the new variants that keep appearing, putting us all back to square one.

The effect on business varies, but many are closed whilst others operate at reduced levels. Small and large businesses are going bankrupt and large numbers of people are losing their livelihoods and savings. It is extremely painful. At the same time, the border changes triggered by Brexit have to be accommodated, and the new international VAT system isn't helping.

Briefly, the whole country and most of the world has been more-or-less discombobulated. How much individals personally are affected varies tremendously. As a retired gentleman, I weathered the lockdown rather easily, remaining blissfully unaware of most of the pain. More recently, I've been helping my son do up an empty house, and discovered unusual material shortages and unusual difficulties engaging tradesmen. I've been obliged to meet a solicitor in a wet car-park, both of us wearing masks, and to meet by Zoom and other electronic means. Due to many unexpected and unpredictable delays, the house upgrade is being done in the wrong order; work is carried out when it can be, rather than as planned to minimise mess, effort and disruption. It hurts.

On a larger scale, hospitals, government departments, businesses and most other organisations are having to jump backwards through similar hoops to deliver any kind of service. My son, daughter and nephews are all in employment, and each has a different story of disruption to tell. The only common factor is they are all making the best of things in difficult circumstances. For example, my daughter normally works in a large office block with a few hundred others: in the last 9 months, she is one of six in the building. Of those six, one is building security and another runs the computers. When people ring in, they are redirected by the phone system to someone working at home, hopefully the right person, who doesn't have access to normal office facilities and team support. Work can only be done online, and the computer system is a bit flaky because it was never designed to support hundreds of homeworkers. Think plane struggling to land with two engines on fire rather than champagne in Business Class as promised on the ticket.

My mother's surgery has lurched suddenly into online working, which she can't do. The easiest way to deal with ordinary appointments is to use their computer system, even though it too is wobbly. Once an appointment is made, consultations are done by phone wherever possible, not by meeting the doctor in person. This is very difficult for those who don't have computers or computer skills, for anyone needing conversational advice, and for those who need to be reassured by a proper appointment. After repeatedly failing to get through by phone, my mum was so desperate she decided to visit in person, which is a huge 'no no'. Fortunately, I found out and fixed the problem online in less than 3 minutes.

The world has been shifting towards electronic methods since before I started work. Despite being a clever chap, my father refused to cope with it and went to his grave convinced computers would never catch on. Now I empathise! I don't have a mobile phone and like it or not they too are becoming essential for organising one's entire life. I really ought to bite the bullet and get one, but my heart isn't in it!

If inconveniences occur at the moment, I suggest it's not particularly helpful to write to MPs and Chief Executives in rant-mode. They too are being swept along by the tide. Rather than insisting on usual standards, I've lowered expectations and am open to compromise. It doesn't upset me when couriers ring the door bell and run away, even though some are a bit too slapdash. Lucky me - same situation would be much harder if I was deaf, or out working, and lived in an area where parcels get nicked!

Bottom line, Covid has no consideration whatever for mankind. We are all victims. In a crisis, I prefer to do my bit rather than complain, but it does depend on the circumstances.


Brian Wood24/03/2021 10:07:34
2549 forum posts
39 photos


I wouldn't get over concerned about the delays to your license, I am in a similar boat to you and battled by letter with them on the previous renewal in 2017. They are completely hidebound and inflexible and will only take the results from their selected opticians, namely Specsavers.

The LEGAL eyesight requirement, as defined in their last letter to me in September 2020 in that you must be able to meet their standard test of being able to read a car number plate at a distance of 20 meters [ Snellen 0.5] with or without using glasses.. That is the only test that meets their requirements and being able to declare that level of eyesight achievement with a clear conscience seems to be good enough. I can meet that so I am continuing to drive. In the meantime I await their arrangements at Specsavers; the branch they deal with is cross country and 35 miles away, others are nearer!

Unlike some of the other medical questions that can now be answered on their website by a simple reply on whether the condition has worsened, those involving eyesight still need to plod through this tedious and frustrating route. If you are unsure about your ability to meet that test, any optician can check that for you

I hope that helps reduce your blood pressure somewhat

Regards Brian

John Haine24/03/2021 10:12:55
4622 forum posts
273 photos

I needed to renew my licence a day before expiry, found the website / phone route totally useless so sent them the form on a Friday evening. New licence arrived in the post the following Tuesday.

Windy24/03/2021 11:02:30
887 forum posts
189 photos

I meet the required number plate test its other eye problems that have to be checked.

Missed the licence extension by a week bugger to be polite.

My Optician said years ago I can't understand why you have to keep having these DVLA eye tests as passed them all since started 2005.

Told DVLA what Optician said that was a waste of time.

When Covid started I received a letter saying am at risk and it showed my ongoing medical problems.

According to that I had four eye problems that was wrong but is on my records.

A nurse I spoke to yesterday said the finer details of my medical record are not on that letter.

The eye consultant that diagnosed my medical problems years ago thought I had glaucoma but after a head scan said it was not.

The problem was a head injury had been like that since before 1974 and had done the fastest UK motorcycle speed like that.

I told DVLA about the faults on medical record but another waste of time

Brian Wood24/03/2021 12:08:31
2549 forum posts
39 photos

Hello again Windy,

Thank you for the added background information but as I said earlier, the only legal requirement is the number plate test and as you say you can pass that, I suggest you wait for the DVLA to catch up with their own convoluted system and get in touch with you in their own sweet time.

Best of luck


Colin Heseltine24/03/2021 16:28:54
654 forum posts
227 photos

I have been trying to put a registration number on retention. Because I built the car as a kit it appears they will not do this online. Ring up to query the situation and get told to use the webchat facility. A robot works out whether he will allow you to converse with an actual person, and if so you still have to talk over the webchat. Its an appalling way to have to do things. There is enough technology available now to have call centre staff working from home and answering telephone calls. Eventually had to send V5C and other paperwork along with a cheque and just wait for a response.


Roger Best24/03/2021 21:21:27
369 forum posts
56 photos

Specsavers are hassling me to get my eyes tested. Can they help? Its a big company, they must have a DVLA suitable person on staff?

Windy24/03/2021 21:42:37
887 forum posts
189 photos
Posted by Roger Best on 24/03/2021 21:21:27:

Specsavers are hassling me to get my eyes tested. Can they help? Its a big company, they must have a DVLA suitable person on staff?

I have spoken to Specsavers months ago and they are doing tests but need details from DVLA.

Have today informed and given details to my local MP.

Pre covid some of my friends have had delays from them and after MP contacted them things got done.

V8Eng24/03/2021 21:59:00
1696 forum posts
1 photos

There is a visual field requirement for drivers as well as the number plate & visual acuity requirement.

It is all clearly shown on the government’s website here:-

Drivers vision

Edited By V8Eng on 24/03/2021 22:00:31

Adam Mara24/03/2021 22:01:11
167 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Roger Best on 24/03/2021 21:21:27:

Specsavers are hassling me to get my eyes tested. Can they help? Its a big company, they must have a DVLA suitable person on staff?

Specsavers have a dedicated team in Nottingham, not that a they are much use! I had and eye stroke March 2nd last year, and reported it to the DVLA, and they told me to take the eye test within 3 weeks, but due to covid tests were suspended. In September they sent me a form for my optician to fill to say I was fit to drive, but they would not accept it, and told me I still had too take the Specsavers test!

In January, whilst I was having a follow on check up in hospital, I learnt that Specavers had been carrying out the tests since October, but neither the DVLA or Specsavers bothered to tell me. I the booked a test at a nearby Specsavers, but on arrival my reference number was invalid according to the DVLA, so I paid privately for the test, and forwarded all the results to the DVLA, after 8 weeks I emailed them asking for a progress report, but have heard nothing at all.

I was thinking of writing to my MP, so think I might now!

Nigel Graham 224/03/2021 22:49:49
2009 forum posts
27 photos

I honestly wonder if employees in large agencies and businesses are banned from using any initiative, only to follow system and procedures; no matter whether efficient or like DVLA's, desperately poor.

If poor, it is poor by weak design and lack of proper oversight and testing.

The moral seems to be that straightforward on-line re-taxing of a vehicle seems to work well, but for anything more difficult, use only paper and post.


Incidentally, does DVLA dictate you use only Specsavers? I wonder what happens if you have been a regular customer with another optician for years, and wish to continue that.


I think though the Championship Cup for utter inability to give users any help or advice in any efficient, straightforward manner, continues to go to IT and telecoms. companies. Unless you want to buy something of course: I have just deleted yet another unsolicited e-mail from BT wanting me to "save £30" on buying a so-called "smart"-speaker - a Google gadget with some stupid name. If I don't buy I save not only that £30 promotion discount, but also the £50 balance!

V8Eng24/03/2021 23:13:58
1696 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 24/03/2021 22:49:49:

I honestly wonder if employees in large agencies and businesses are banned from using any initiative, only to follow system and procedures; no matter whether efficient or like DVLA's, desperately poor.

If poor, it is poor by weak design and lack of proper oversight and testing.

The moral seems to be that straightforward on-line re-taxing of a vehicle seems to work well, but for anything more difficult, use only paper and post.


Incidentally, does DVLA dictate you use only Specsavers? I wonder what happens if you have been a regular customer with another optician for years, and wish to continue that.


The Government appears to just send the details to spec savers and they contact you to make an appointment seemingly within a short period of time from getting the letter.

Specsavers then send the results to the DVLA who decide on your licence.

I am not aware of there being any choice in the matter.

I think people with eye defects will already be under the ongoing care of Opticians who would be perfectly capable of doing the requisite testing.

Many would also be regularly seen by medical specialists who are probably more than capable of testing and deciding on vision for driving.



Edited By V8Eng on 24/03/2021 23:14:32

Windy24/03/2021 23:25:27
887 forum posts
189 photos

Many of my friends in the speed scene who have had concussion have to wait a long time to get their driving licence despite Doctors and Opticians saying they are fit to drive.

One who crashed while racing in America took two years despite medics giving written fit to drive to DVLA.

Basic online renewal is quick but paper work renewal if you have medical faults can be a minefield.

Windy27/03/2021 13:06:17
887 forum posts
189 photos

Just an update on DVLA medical licence delay.

Hooray when I phoned as soon as they opened message all our lines are busy ring back later had the same yesterday.

This was not on so just kept ringing back all the time with no breaks and finally got through.

Waited nearly 1/2 an hour and spoke to someone he was very helpful and said this delay on the eye test had gone on too long nearly 5 months.

Should get the necessary appointment letter next week.

I had been in contact with my local MP about it all as I have physical health issues and need a car for essential items and had to ask friends to get them.

Did mention about the MP and that will be passed on to persons above him.

People who have had long delays an MP normally shakes these Gov department up.

Wait and see now I do have other options if its just talk a path I do not want to go down unless desperate.

V8Eng27/03/2021 13:48:48
1696 forum posts
1 photos

Pleased to hear you seem to be making progress.

My licence took nearly 8 weeks to come after having the test at Specsavers.

Edited By V8Eng on 27/03/2021 13:50:38

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