We assessed psychiatrists' knowledge and attitudes towards the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) regulations concerning mental illness. A postal survey of all consultant and trainee psychiatrists (228) on the South Thames (East) regional psychiatry rotation was carried out.
For category 1 (private car and motorcycles) licenses, 40.0% of psychiatrists could correctly advise patients with a bipolar affective disorder; this figure was 0% for schizophreniform disorders. For category 2 (heavy goods vehicles) licenses the corresponding figures were 13.2% and 11.8%, respectively.
For alcohol misuse, alcohol dependency and alcohol related disorders, the scores were 26.0%, 29.1% and 19.7%.
Psychiatrists fail to know or apply existing DVLA regulations, for a number of reasons. Failure to inform patients of the restrictions and to record this may result in medico-legal liability for practitioners.
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