The DVLA is without doubt a very powerful organisation. As with all such Government organisation it is difficult to contact directly, communicate with and is immune to being challenged about its views.
It has a risk averse approach to conducting its business because, we assume, ‘safety’ must be its upper most consideration in conducting itself.
When risk aversity is coupled with Government pressure to reduce say, the number of drivers over 70 years old, where ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the mantra that is operating in a closed environment with no contact with the people it is investigating, where ‘group think’ will be endemic, when does the DVLA’s approach produce a situation in which people lose their licence to drive unfairly.
The DVLA has no means of addressing grey areas of consideration fundamentally because it purposefully excludes all outside views or arguments which are pertinent to the person being reviewed. Unlike a court of law, the ‘accused’ is excluded from personally being involved.
The loss of ones driving licence in all cases can be life changing, isolating and catastrophic. In a world in which public transport outside cities is non-existent, the simple acts of travelling to purchase food, carrying the goods home, attending medical appointments becomes a cost prohibitive exercise for anyone living on a pension or any low income. An ever increasing demographic.
As a person reaches the age of 70 years, the DVLA ‘automatically’ removes some categories of vehicle a person can drive without any consideration whether that person is capable of driving those categories or not. Is this not ‘ageism’. On the other hand the Government increases retirement age forcing people to remain in work longer.
It is possible to retain these categories but to do so incurs the applicant spending considerable time and expense. The applicant also has to agree to allow the DVLA to subject them to intrusive and invasive medical test and considers the local GP’s advice, the very medic who knows the applicant, irrelevant to that of their own inhouse doctors’ views. Doctors who know nothing about the applicant at all. This process is, in itself, acting as a deterrent to anyone wishing to challenge the DVLA’s views and to quash any descent.
Being free to travel in a modern world is an individual right and in the absence of any public means of travel the default is a motor vehicle.
The question is a simple one: In acting and operating in the way the DVLA does is it in breach of Civil Rights legislation and age discrimination?