How long does proof of abstinence continue if alcohol dependent?

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Angelcat

Member
Hi, looking for some clarification. I have a 1 year licence for alcohol misuse due for renewal. It is my 3rd yearly licence.
Should it be declined for alcohol dependency, I am looking at the worst case scenario. How long would I need to evidence abstinence? I understand I need to show 1 year clear LFTS before I can be issued another 1 year licence. But do I need to continue to evidence abstinence in this way as long as I hold a yearly licence, or would it just be on clear medical evidence ?
reading lots of conflicting information and want to be completely clear. Thanks in advance
 

grice96

Well-known member
For 6 years bud, they can issue a one year licence until it has been 6 years since you have had alcohol issues on file. So if you're running on a one year licence for dependence you can not drink at all. After 6 years a longer licence is then granted, it used to be 3 years until last year when the DVLA moved the goal posts to 6 years.
 

Angelcat

Member
For 6 years bud, they can issue a one year licence until it has been 6 years since you have had alcohol issues on file. So if you're running on a one year licence for dependence you can not drink at all. After 6 years a longer licence is then granted, it used to be 3 years until last year when the DVLA moved the goal posts to 6 years.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I get that. But do I need to continue to have regular bloods with my gp each year while on a yearly licence?
 

Blooper

Active member
I am guessing you are a HRO, if so then we are in the same boat, the DVLA can send you for a medical each your for a CDT test to prove you are not a problem drinker. I have never known the DVLA to ask for or even accept a test from your Doctor. they normally only use their own approved Medical centers. until then we are on the same merry go round or once a year you apply, they write to your Doctor, send you for a medical then grant your license....and yes its at least 6 years but i have heard of 11.
 

Angelcat

Member
Hi, I am not a HRO, never had a conviction but my ex husband reported me to DVLA for alcohol misuse. This was upheld and I got a1 year licence 3 months after revocation, having proved no/ controlled drinking for 6 months. I have renewed this twice and is due up shortly. There is a possibility that I may be refused this time down to a single incident , the letter on my medical notes indicates possible dependence. This was not the case, but I am looking at the worst case scenario.
I know there will be a yearly medical and medical investigation if I get the dependency label. I realise I will need to evidence clear LFTs for the first year, what I am questioning is if I will need to continue to provide this 3 monthly evidence each time I apply for a new licence, for 6 years as well as a medical and CDT test? 6 years constant blood monitoring seems excessive.
 
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peter_m

Member
Alcohol dependency and even abuse is a hard disease to be cured of and, obviously, the DVLA and their doctors/consultants are all too well aware of this. People lie about their drinking habits, even to themselves, again well known by your own GP for instance. It would not surprise me if the DVLA imposed, in the future, stiffer and more frequent testing, for licensing purposes, of those who use alcohol, and that whether you abuse it or are dependant on it you may be classed as the same level.

However, I feel there is an equally, if not more dangerous disease in the world of driving... drugs....
 

Blooper

Active member
Are you saying the DVLA are requesting you have LFT or is that the way the Doctor wants to prove your Alcohol intake is under control, I would ask the DVLA if this is the case. The DVLA usually rely on a questionnaire from your doctor and a medical from an approved DVLA clinic, you may find the LFT tests are no longer required.
 

Angelcat

Member
Are you saying the DVLA are requesting you have LFT or is that the way the Doctor wants to prove your Alcohol intake is under control, I would ask the DVLA if this is the case. The DVLA usually rely on a questionnaire from your doctor and a medical from an approved DVLA clinic, you may find the LFT tests are no longer required.
Hi, no this is information I have seen on this site. That if there is a dependency, it is up to the applicant to provide evidence of abstinence, in the form of a non incriminating medical report and clear bloods over the year. I get that for the year following a refusal or revocation, but what about the following years?
 

C J 1980

Well-known member
My understanding of this process is that if you flag up on the DVLA radar as being alcohol dependant, technically speaking you should not touch a sip of alcohol for six years!

I am currently a HRO banned from driving until the end of the year pending my medical which I should do around October time. I am almost 11 months dry now after a really bad time with alcohol dependency.

I am already prepared for the fact I may have to take part in a annual medical until 2026 as it is a six year cycle. I believe once you reach this milestone, the DVLA effectively close their book on you. During this time you cannot disclose consuming any alcohol because your licence will be revoked.

I do think the DVLA have requested a tall order here and it really is a case of ensuring you get through the medical each year and ensuring you do not disclose alcohol consumption and your body does not give anything away.

CJ
 

Angelcat

Member
My understanding of this process is that if you flag up on the DVLA radar as being alcohol dependant, technically speaking you should not touch a sip of alcohol for six years!

I am currently a HRO banned from driving until the end of the year pending my medical which I should do around October time. I am almost 11 months dry now after a really bad time with alcohol dependency.

I am already prepared for the fact I may have to take part in a annual medical until 2026 as it is a six year cycle. I believe once you reach this milestone, the DVLA effectively close their book on you. During this time you cannot disclose consuming any alcohol because your licence will be revoked.

I do think the DVLA have requested a tall order here and it really is a case of ensuring you get through the medical each year and ensuring you do not disclose alcohol consumption and your body does not give anything away.

CJ
So am I wrong in thinking that for each of those 6 single year licences, after getting it back for dependency, you still need to show several clear LFT tests yearly?
 
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Thechief5

Well-known member
I have just begun my second year of a 1 year license renewal cycle. Didn’t need a medical this time around. I was once classed as alcohol dependant by the dvla, which I disputed strongly. Recently they changed it to misuse. I don’t know if that’s the standard procedure after 1 year back driving. Clearly nobody is alcohol dependant and abstinent for 12 months at the same time.
I visited my gp once in the whole 12 months and asked for a lft. He wasn’t aware of regular testing and I’ve never been told to do so by anyone other than people on here. I will do it once or twice a year though as it can do no harm.
I would advise that if you are on a one year license then never disclose a drink. Even if youve had one. It’s totally unfair for the dvla to expect total abstinence, but I think they do. Even hardcore drinkers can and have gone back to drinking within the recommended limits. But I would never risk telling the dvla that. From experience, it takes 20-25 days for cdt levels to be normal, if you abstain and are not drinking massive amounts before that. So I would say play it safe, claim total abstinence and get your gp onside. And be abstinent when you know you have a potential medical coming up. That said, it’s best to give up drink anyway! I’m hoping it won’t be 6 years of temporary licenses for me. I may write and ask what the standard procedure is.
 

C J 1980

Well-known member
I always prepare for the worst case scenario with this type of thing. For me the biggest obstacle is getting my licence back at the end of the year.

As a result of the Glasgow bin wagon tragedy in 2014 (which wasn't alcohol related), the DVLA have made some very robust changes to the procedure for medicals and renewing licences.

Unfortunately, I can't work out the fine line between alcohol dependancy & alcohol misuse were the DVLA is concerned. I do believe that if you are a HRO identified as dependant you have to show clear abstinence of alcohol for over 12 months.

Once they grant you your driving licence you will recieve a 12 month temporary licence. Fast forward a year & when you complete your second medical the DVLA may grant you another 12 month licence and repeat this process every year for up to 6 years.

However, everyone's circumstances are different & each HRO case is judged differently too. I know one chap who had an appalling history of alcoholism who was given a three year licence after his first year back on the road.

Unfortunately, once you are in the DVLA vacuum you may have to endure 6 x 12 month licences with a medical for each!!! I'm working on the fact this is what I will have to be subject to. If like my friend I referred to, I get a 3 year licence in the second year I will treat this as a bonus and be very grateful.

Regarding touching alcohol again - the DVLA stands clear on this - ZERO UNITS. I wouldn't even disclose having a drop of wine cooked with chicken coq au vin (even though the alcohol is burned out in the heating process!).

Sadly, as far as the DVLA is concerned they want total abstinence for six years until you are eventually reinstated with a full licence again.

If you do end up consuming alcohol again I would air on the side of caution. If you have a medical lined up, I would not touch any alcohol for a month before and do not declare it. I cannot make it any clearer than that.

CJ
 

Angelcat

Member
So , anticipating the worst I today asked for Liver function tests from my gp and was told I could only have them if specifically asked and funded by the DVLA. I know this can’t be correct. I had regular testing when I was revoked previously, this was a different practice and clearly I am not revoked.
My current 1 year licence for misuse is up at end of August, I have an incident on file which suggests dependency, this is not the case and I will argue it if it is given. However, I am trying to be pre emptive and prepare for a worse case scenario. The date of my last drink is logged with this incident as early February, should my licence be declined on dependency rules this is the date I will use. Lockdown has prevented previous evidenced abstinence in bloods , but now I can but am being declined. I have a private test but know this is inadmissible. Do I plead another problem requiring bloods at my surgery to show some record if the worst happens, or just do nothing? I am going round in circles!
 

Thechief5

Well-known member
If that was me I would insist on having a lft, and explain it is for your ongoing health records. I have NEVER been refused a lft when I have asked for one. Surely we use the same nhs system? I would not let that be your final response on this. I would threaten a complaint, get your MP involved... the lot. I would not, under any circumstances, admit to a problem just to get a liver test. It would be a really bad move. Whatever the lft shows, you would more than likely be refused a license again anyway. Take it from someone who has been there, it does not pay to be honest with the GP and the DVLA on this (unless you have a real problem, in which case, forget about your license and get yourself better). If it were me, I'd keep that last drink date of february on file, and never admit to another drink again.. and hopefully your subsequent blood tests can back this up.
 

Angelcat

Member
I meant saying feeling generally unwell, not something liver related. I have a high cholesterol anyway. I couldn’t get past receptionist who spoke to the dr. I had a phone consultation with this morning.
I have had private LFTs this week which are fine.
 
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Blue81

Member
I'm allowed to reapply for my licence after a 3 yr ban. Obviously I cant do my medical at the moment which is fine. Do you need to have 12 months proof of abstinence before you have your medical? I was not aware of this so don't have any proof! Although I'm not alcohol depenedant now I was before. In 2017 I spent time in rehab which obviously will be on my medical records so I can't lie about that but I can't prove I've been abstinent for 12 months even though I have! Do I have to wait another 12 motnths to prove my abstinence??
 

C J 1980

Well-known member
Blue81

My own advice would be to arrange an appointment with your GP, even if it's a telephone appointment and explain your circumstances. They may or may not officially log the 12 months abstinence but they will have to add something to your medical notes about the conversation.

The biggest obstacle is the burden of proof. For someone in your situation I would strongly suggest a physical appointment with the GP so they can in fact do blood tests or an examination to back up your 12 months of sobriety.

GP's are extremely switched on people - they need to be, as many many of their patients probably try to pull the wool over their eyes. At least if you go in person and insist on the medical checks it supports the evidence that you have been dry for over the year.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? I stopped drinking 11 months ago in order to set my stall out for getting my licence back in December 2020. I have so far had 2 x LFTs and a scan. I am also planning on a third LFT in August - the whole point to all this is documenting everything. I believe in a old saying 'if it's not written down it ain't happened!' When I do eventually cross paths with the DVLA I have all the ammunition to fire at them.

All GPs are different - some are more supportive than others. Ultimately, when the DVLA write to the GP to clarify if a patient has been clean for a year, one GP may be quite happy to respond to the DVLA and write you up, even if you have only had one appointment with them to discuss the alcohol abstinence. However, another GP would be very robust and want concrete evidence of your sobriety (i.e. various tests done throughout the year). This then falls back on you having the burden of proof to back up your sobriety.

Good luck.

CJ
 

Blue81

Member
Blue81

My own advice would be to arrange an appointment with your GP, even if it's a telephone appointment and explain your circumstances. They may or may not officially log the 12 months abstinence but they will have to add something to your medical notes about the conversation.

The biggest obstacle is the burden of proof. For someone in your situation I would strongly suggest a physical appointment with the GP so they can in fact do blood tests or an examination to back up your 12 months of sobriety.

GP's are extremely switched on people - they need to be, as many many of their patients probably try to pull the wool over their eyes. At least if you go in person and insist on the medical checks it supports the evidence that you have been dry for over the year.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? I stopped drinking 11 months ago in order to set my stall out for getting my licence back in December 2020. I have so far had 2 x LFTs and a scan. I am also planning on a third LFT in August - the whole point to all this is documenting everything. I believe in a old saying 'if it's not written down it ain't happened!' When I do eventually cross paths with the DVLA I have all the ammunition to fire at them.

All GPs are different - some are more supportive than others. Ultimately, when the DVLA write to the GP to clarify if a patient has been clean for a year, one GP may be quite happy to respond to the DVLA and write you up, even if you have only had one appointment with them to discuss the alcohol abstinence. However, another GP would be very robust and want concrete evidence of your sobriety (i.e. various tests done throughout the year). This then falls back on you having the burden of proof to back up your sobriety.

Good luck.

CJ
Thanks for the advice. I've been seeing my GP for awhile now and she's generally really good. Everytime I go to see her she'll send me for bloods no matter what reason I go for. Problem is I only recall seeing her once in the last 12 months. Also I don't think my LFT will come back good anyway as I have liver damage. I know my last bloods were fine my GP said but she's aware that I have liver damage and would take that into consideration when looking at the results. but there's nothing I can do to reverse it. I'd hope the DVLA would take that into account!
 

Getinnowhere

Well-known member
Abstract
Duration of abstinence before blood test, alcohol consumption and age was examined in 177 male alcohol-dependent patients as factors influencing serum carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and mean corpuscular volume (MCV). The strongest influence on all markers was the factor 'duration of abstinence before blood test'. In patients who had been abstinent for >4 days before the blood test, the markers had low sensitivities (GGT, 33%; CDT, 14%; MCV, 42%), whereas in patients with < or = 4 days of abstinence the markers had reasonably good sensitivities (GGT, 72%; CDT, 56%; MCV, 48%). GGT was more sensitive than CDT (P < 0.05) and MCV (P < 0.001). The combined use of CDT and GGT had sensitivity of over 90%. Mean alcohol consumption in the 30 days prior to the blood test had a significant effect on CDT and GGT, but not on MCV. Age did not have a clear effect on CDT and GGT. For MCV, a significant and linear increase with age was shown. We conclude that GGT is the most sensitive of these three markers. Using GGT and CDT combined, sensitivity can be enhanced to over 90%. The period of abstinence before the blood test has a strong influence on CDT and GGT. If a longer period of abstinence is suspected, MCV should also be measured, in order to detect evidence of earlier heavy drinking.
 

Getinnowhere

Well-known member
The question on the dr1 medical questionnaire confused me do they presume you are alcohol dependent.

1. As a result of alcohol dependence have you needed to take prescribed medication to help you stop drinking alcohol safely (alcohol detoxification).

A, if yes give details etc

What's all that about.
 
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