Welcome to The Sleep Apnoea Trust Association

Working to improve the lives of sleep apnoea patients,their partners and their families. Managed by volunteers, SATA is regarded as the leading UK charity working in the field of Sleep Apnoea

Complimentary Medical Alert card and purchase of a Medical Equipment Baggage Tag are now additional benefits if you join the Trust

Driving and Sleep Apnoea———> DVLA – ONLY COMMUNICATE BY LETTER

If you call, the DVLA about Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and make a mistake in what you say, you may well have your licence revoked.

If you email the DVLA about Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and make a mistake in what you send, you may well have your licence revoked.

If you report your Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) online to the DVLA, using their new medical condition reporting service and make a mistake in what you fill in, you may well have your licence revoked.

This advice is based on feedback from the SATA Helpline.

When you do contact the DVLA, after being diagnosed or suspected to be diagnosed and yet to be confirmed, with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS), where syndrome means the symptom of suffering from excessive sleepiness liable to interfere with your ability to drive safely, do so only by letter and keep copies of all correspondence for future reference.

On the subject of diagnosis, please insist that your Sleep Clinic is ABSOLUTELY PRECISE in their diagnosis as to whether you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) without the symptom of excessive sleepiness OR Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS),  the syndrome being the symptom of excessive sleepiness. This information is crucial for  the decision that you must make whether or not you have to inform the DVLA.

If you have to use the DVLA Form SL1 or SL1V make sure it is completed with the assistance of your Sleep Clinic and/or SATA!

Informing the DVLA is a legal requirement under Section 88 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act.

You must also inform your insurance company.

This information is for UK drivers only - regulations and requirements in other countries will be different. The information is given for general information purposes only. It is in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a doctor. If you are worried about any aspect of your health, you should consult a doctor in person.

General Guidance to Drivers

Owing to DVLA rule changes, which have created chaos, we are in the process of updating the Trust’s own leaflet and patient information “Driving and Sleep Apnoea – The Facts” to provide general information on Driving and Sleep Apnoea.

Under no circumstances call or email the DVLA, as the result can be variable depending upon who you contact. Also do not use the new online medical reporting facility. This advice is based on feedback from the SATA Helpline.

If you make any mistake you may have your licence revoked. 

Only communicate by letter, keep copies of all correspondence, as you may need them if  a problem arises.

Consult with your Sleep Clinic on ALL communications with the DVLA and if you are still not confident, call the SATA Help Line.

However, the legal position of drivers who are sleepy is clearly explained in the DVLA Leaflet “ Tiredness Can Kill” (INF 159 DVLA)and this can be downloaded from the following web link:


From Tiredness Can Kill

 What if I have a condition causing sleepiness/tiredness during the day?

  • You need to tell us if you hold a current driving licence of any type.
  • You can tell us by email or download a form from the ‘medical rules for drivers’ section of www.gov.uk/driving-medical-conditions
  • You can also tell us by post, fax, or phone NB SATA does not advise phoning the DVLA
  • A third party notification will only be accepted in writing and must be signed by the letter writer.
  • Please include your full name, address and date of birth.

We will then send you a questionnaire so you can give us details about your medical condition. The questionnaire also enables you to provide your consent for our Medical Advisers to request medical information from your doctors.

It may take some time to complete our enquiries, in the meantime we advise you to speak to your doctor or specialist about driving while we are completing our enquiries. A decision will be made about your driving licence as quickly as possible.

Finally, if a doctor tells you must not drive as they have concerns about your ability to drive safely, the you must stop driving.

Detailed Guidance to Drivers

At present we are unable to provide detailed guidance owing to the variability of interpretation of the new DVLA rules. Please consult you Sleep Clinic Consultant and seek their guidance on this matter.


Assessing fitness to drive – a guide for medical professionals – June 2017



Driven to Despair – How Drivers are let down by the DVLA

British Thoracic Society

BTS Position Paper on Drivng and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome


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