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Alcohol dependence and driving: A survey of patients' knowledge of DVLA regulations and possible clinical implications

  • Martin Culshaw (a1), Lisa Wootton (a2) and Scott Wylie (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

A survey of 58 patients with alcohol dependence was carried out to ascertain how much knowledge such patients have about the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) regulations. Patients completed a questionnaire about whether they follow DVLA regulations, what information health professionals had given to them and whether they would still seek treatment if they knew doctors might inform the DVLA.

Results

The majority of patients surveyed were continuing to drive. Very few had any knowledge of DVLA regulations regarding alcohol dependence. With the knowledge that doctors have a duty to notify the DVLA in certain circumstances, a significant proportion said they would be less likely to seek treatment or would stop attending for treatment.

Clinical Implications

Health professionals may be avoiding discussions of the DVLA regulations with patients suffering from alcohol dependence in an attempt to preserve the doctor–patient relationship.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
Hide All
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (2003) At a Glance Guide to the Current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive: A Guide for Medical Practitioners, Chapters 1 and 5. www.dvla.gov.uk.
General Medical Council (2003) Confidentiality: Protecting and Providing Information, Appendix 2. www.gmc-uk.org.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Alcohol dependence and driving: A survey of patients' knowledge of DVLA regulations and possible clinical implications

  • Martin Culshaw (a1), Lisa Wootton (a2) and Scott Wylie (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

statistic of ignorance.

paul j diamond, taxi driver
08 January 2007

Dear Sir,

I just read your piece about your survey relating to driver ignorancein relation to alcohol misuse and dvla regulations on this matter.I dont know another person aware of these regulations.

I am 45 years old and until last year was unaware of the said regulations.I like many others I think,thought

that a person fulfilled their duty not to be driving under the influence or even the morning after.

I became aware of this alcohol misuse label only when 2 years ago I applied for a psv licensce to drive a taxi.On the medical application my GP had noted that I had a prior problem with alcohol but qualified this with in his opinion I was in control of my alcohol intake.

I was granted my 5 year psv in NOV 04 but in DEC 05 was asked to attend a medical on behalf of the DVLNI,here in Belfast.My nightmare now begins....

I was found to have a GGT level of 259.I was bemused as an ordinary guy to learn what this was all about. I was told that this should be no higher than 58.Again how many people know what their GGT level is or should be?

I controlled my drink habits and over a period of 6 months returned afigure of 158 in August 06 having bettered that at 112 in June 06.

On the 158 figure the local authority have revoked my psv for 12 mthsand the upshot is that they have seen fit to revoke my ordinary 6mths.

I go to court on DEC 12th for an appeal on the 2 counts;to say IM angry is an understatement.but what am I angry at?

Well I have had time to reflect and 8 weeks withouta sip of a pint.A blood test will as I have come to knowverify this....

MY anger is with the driving authority whom we all know can spend thousands of pounds on advertising against drink driving and dont highlight to anyone regulationsthat can seize ones lively hood.

Where has it ever been shown that a GGT level impairs ones ability todrive.And if so at what level are we talking about... below I set out a time frame of blood tests since this all began ....GGT levels..

DEC 05..............259

FEB 06..............189

APR 06..............181

May 06..............119

Jun 06..............112

During JULY AUG ,I did have occasions where I was drinking

and returned a GGT level of 158 at the end of AUG 06.

I havent had a drink now for 9 weeks and to be honest firmly believe that I am in control but prior to the predicament im in now I truly wasnt aware there was a problem.

I realise you may not be able to comment on specific cases but any advise on my story would be greatly appreciated,.On a lighter note....

At my appeal do you think the sitting JUDGE will know what his GGT LEVELS are??

Yours Thankfully

Paul Diamond..(STATISTIC of IGNORANCE).
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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