Renewing a Driving Licence after a Drink Driving Ban

Driving Licence Renewal

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Applying for a Driving Licence after a Driving Disqualification

You can apply to renew your driving licence up to 56 days (90 days for high risk offenders) before your driving disqualification is due to end.

You should receive a renewal reminder from the DVLA 56 days before your driving disqualification is due to end (or 90 days before your driving disqualification is due to end, if you are classed as a High Risk Offender (HRO)).

For cars, mopeds and motorcycles

A D1 Pack - Application for a driving licence for a car, moped or motorcycle will need to be completed and returned to the DVLA along with the appropriate fee.

For lorries, minibuses and buses

A D2 Pack - Application for a driving licence for a lorry, minibus or bus will need to be completed and returned to the DVLA along with the appropriate fee. Applications for a vocational driving licence will be referred to the traffic commissioner, more information here.

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Order D1 & D2 application packs from the DVLA online here

If you do not receive a renewal reminder you can order the relevant application pack from the DVLA online. Alternatively you may be able to collect the relevant application pack(s) from your local post office.

IMPORTANT: If you have completed the drink driving rehabilitation course it will take some time for the course provider to notify the sentencing court of this fact and for the sentencing court to subsequently notify the DVLA who will then apply the reduction in disqualification.

The time it takes to apply the reduction in disqualification after course completion often results in renewal reminders being sent out late. If you have completed a DDR course you are advised to acquire the relevant application pack(s) either online here or at your local post office and submit your application 56 days (90 days for high risk offenders) before your driving disqualification is due to end.

Applying early is particularly important for high risk offenders who will be required to take a DVLA medical.

More information on reapplying for your driving licence after disqualification

Drink Driving DVLA Medical For High Risk Offenders

In some cases the DVLA will need to make medical enquiries before they issue you with a new driving licence.

If this is the case you should have received a letter from the DVLA (see below) shortly after you received your driving disqualification informing you that this is the case. You can find more information on the DVLA medical here.

DVLA Example Letter

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to let you know that we have received details from the court of your recent disqualification for an alcohol related offence.

The disqualifications outlined below are ones the law recognises as being an indication that such drivers may misuse alcohol in a way that could make them unfit to hold a driving licence.

  • One disqualification for driving, or being in charge of a vehicle, when the level of alcohol in the body equalled or exceeded:
    1. 87.5 microgrammes per 100 milliliters of breath, or
    2. 200 milligrammes per 100 milliliters of blood, or
    3. 267.5 milligrammes per 100 milliliters of urine.
  • Two disqualifications within the space of 10 years for drinking and driving, or being in charge of a vehicle whilst unfit through drink.
  • One disqualification for refusing/failing to supply a specimen for analysis.
  • One disqualification for failing, without reasonable excuse, to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood taken while that person was incapable of consenting to such a specimen being taken.

Your recent disqualification means that you fall into one of the above categories. Before you can obtain a driving licence following your period of disqualification, you will be required to satisfy the Secretary of State, (in practice the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's Medical Adviser), that you are medically fit to hold one. This will involve a medical examination by an independent doctor, who will complete a medical questionnaire, a physical examination and the taking of blood for analysis. You are advised that a licence will not be granted if there is evidence of persistent alcohol misuse or dependency in the 12 months before your application, or if there is evidence of ongoing misuse or dependency. If you are unlikely to meet the criteria, you should discuss the matter with your own doctor.

This policy was first introduced in 1983, and was extended in June 1990 and again in June 2013, following a review of road traffic law. It is the Department's aim to reduce the overall number of road casualties by 40% and by 50% for children by the year 2010. As a significant number of accidents are alcohol related, I am sure you will appreciate that positive steps need to be taken to reduce the number of incidents arising from drink/driving offences.

The Agency's Drivers Medical Group will write to you about 3 months before your disqualification period is due to end to explain what you must do if you wish to apply for a new licence. If you have not heard from the Agency 2 months before your disqualification period expires, please write to Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Longview Road, Swansea, SA99 1TU.

Yours Faithfully

Drivers Customer Services (Courts)

Receiving this letter means that you are classed as a 'high risk offender' and will be required to take and pass a DVLA medical before your driving licence will be returned to you. The DVLA medical is usually carried out by an independent GP (DVLA Appointed Doctor) and there will be an additional and separate fee to be paid for the medical to be carried out, in addittion to the driving licence application fee.

Retaking your driving test/extended driving test

In some cases where a motorist has been disqualified from driving until they re-take their driving test (or an extended driving test), they will have to apply for a provisional licence by completing a D1 application pack and then make the necessary arrangements to retake a theory and practical driving test as outlined here.

Vocational Driving Licence Categories

Lorries, minibuses and buses

When a driving licence is applied for after a disqualification for drink driving related offences the DVLA will usually only reinstate a driving licence with non vocational category entitlement(s) only. In order to apply to have any vocational categories reinstated you must complete a 'D2 Pack - Application for a driving licence for a lorry, minibus or bus'. You can order a D2 Pack online here.

The DVLA will refer all vocational driving licence applicants to the traffic commissioners who are independent regulators of the licensed commercial vehicle industry and are responsible for the licensing and regulation of drivers who operate heavy goods vehicles, buses & coaches.

The traffic commissioner will review all cases referred to them and decide if the applicant is a fit and proper person to obtain or hold such a licence before deciding on the appropriate course of action. They may deal with the case entirely in writing ('on the papers') or they may require that the applicant attend a driver conduct hearing in person.

The starting points for regulatory action in regards to drink driving offences as seen in the table below provide for consistency in approach, however, traffic commissioners have absolute discretion to move up or down the suggested starting points as they see fit.

Drink driving disqualifications
(within the previous ten years)
First disqualification: for 12 months or less Grant with a "requirements warning" letter
First disqualification for more than 12 months but less than 3 years Further period of disqualification on a sliding scale of one month per year of disqualification to be imposed
Second and/or subsequent disqualifications Disqualify for 3-6 months, or more in extreme cases

Traffic commissioners are authorised to order a person to be disqualified from holding a full vocational licence until they pass an appropriate driving test. This usually happens when a person has not or will not drive on a vocational driving licence for 5 years or longer or where there are doubts concerning a persons professional driving.

Vocational drivers who are dissatisfied with the traffic commissioners decision may lodge an appeal with their local magistrates or sheriffs court within six months of the date on which the driver is notified of the decision.

Senior traffic commissioners statutory guidance and statutory directions (GOV.UK)

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