Stirling MP Stephen Kerr has thrown his support behind a Parliamentary Bill that would require drivers diagnosed with dementia to re-take their driving test.
The bill was moved by Stephen’s colleague Rachel Maclean MP (Redditch) in response to concerns that people recently diagnosed with dementia do not get the support they need to mitigate the stress of a diagnosis and the change in lifestyle it often demands.
The new bill would see doctors who diagnose patients with dementia obligated to inform the driving agencies who would then ask the patient for a supplementary driving assessment.
There are large numbers of families and local communities worrying about the safety of relatives , friends and neighbours due to concerns about their ability to drive safely. Those with dementia are at increased risk of accidents yet great sensitivity is needed to help a person come to terms with this unwelcome situation. This Bill aims to raise awareness and start a conversation about improving the process and mitigating the emotional stress and conflict felt by patients, families and carers going through this.
The Bill certainly doesn’t seek to deprive people of their independence. Rather, it seeks to close a practical loophole by shifting the responsibility for informing the DVLA automatically to the doctor upon receipt of the diagnosis. The current system creates a great deal of ambiguity especially when the dementia patient lacks awareness and insight into their own lack of capacity.
Stephen Kerr MP said:
“The time around a diagnosis is always difficult, and we need to make sure people with dementia get all the support they need in coming to terms with receiving such life changing news . This bill will ensure the doctors together with the DVLA take on the responsibility of organising a new driving test for the patient, for the sake of the safety of the patient and other road users. This bill strikes the correct balance, ensuring people with dementia do not lose independence while also ensuring road safety is upheld.