“Small lorry” drivers in licence impasse

While DVLA has been able to suspend the requirement for Cat C and C+E vocational licence renewals to be accompanied by the extended D4 medical report, one group of goods vehicle drivers has fallen through the cracks. It affects drivers who hold C1 entitlement, to drive goods vehicles from 3,501kg to 7.500kg GVW, and those towing trailers with a GCW over 3,500kg, by virtue of having obtained their car licences before 1997, so-called “grandfather rights”.

Renewal of these licences, and the corresponding D1 licence for minibus drivers, requires the same D4 medical as for Cat C and C+E. However, the DVLA rules specifically exclude the suspension of the D4 requirement in this situation. This issue only applies to drivers with the acquired entitlement, and not to those drivers having passed a test in a C1 or D1 vehicle.

As the affected drivers still require a D4 medical, which is virtually unobtainable as GPs are not carrying out examinations and the specialist medical providers have effectively shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, they appear to be a small but significant group stuck in the middle who will be unable to renew their licences until the availability of D4 medical reports is restored.

CM has contacted DVLA, whose spokesman confirmed that our understanding of the situation is correct, and there are no plans to change the rules.