Driver SOS (UK)

Helping with car insurance, driving bans, learning to drive and other motoring issues

Join Community
Driver SOS (UK)
2900 members 1218 topics 2221 posts

How to pass the DVLA medical test after driving ban?

last updated
20 replies
17 users
anonymous_2 gices
Joanne_1 26 Jan 2009

I am awaiting a date to go for my dvla medical after a 12 month ban which ends 30/01/08. I would normally have a drink only on a Sat night which consists of maybe a bottle and a half of red wine. Would I fail a blood test when going for the medical? I do not drink through the week at all. Could someone please advise me further as I am desperate to get my licence back asap?



Driver SOS (UK)

Helping with car insurance, driving bans, learning to drive and other motoring issues

Driver SOS (UK)

Get help with your own questions, discover what's new and talk with people doing the same thing

This is a premium community exclusive to our members to discuss all things motoring where some of the discussions have been made public but read-only for you to get a taste of what it's like on the inside. Membership is £9.99 for 30 days access, collected through Paypal and can be subsequently renewed or cancelled as you see fit.
2900 members . 1218 topics . 2221 posts
Mark_3 16 Sep 2009

I'm due for my 4th DVLA medical in 7 years for the same reason as I can only get my licence back at intervals as my results are inconclusive of misuse, maybe because of the following so be aware!

Anyway, I usually for 2 weeks beforehand don't drink at all or take any drugs, including paracetamol as these make the liver work harder but are not known to be tested for anyway. I have found that Milk Thistle available from health food shops taken 3 times a day lowers one of the enzymes (AST) the blood test looks for but cannot find any method to lower the other two as these (GGT and MCV) are only high due to long term misuse and only 6-12 months alcohol free will reduce these.

The acceptable levels are quite high that the DVLA look for and as a heavy drinker I have only ever failed once due to the AST level being 2 points over their level and was well within the others. Also cut down on cigarettes and fatty food for the two weeks prior and drink plenty of water as the Milk Thistle needs this to clear the liver. I recommend 2 litres a day. Take multivitamins and eat fruit and try and get some exercise too. You'll be the healthiest person on the planet for a fortnight and you should pass the blood test, after you've parted with the £96 (as at 14/9/09) medical fee.

BTW - This pointer is for those who have made a mistake in their driving career like I have and 10 years on still being reminded of it, so please no nasty comments about drink drivers on this thread. Use another thread for that.

Carl_1 15 Oct 2009

Hi Mark,

Your comments are the only sensible info I've found on the web. My exam is due in 1 and 1/2 weeks and I'm scared to death I'll not pass. I've had a year and half of hell, lost my job and my wife and hardy see my kids. Drink driving is my stupid fault and a moment of madness. With this conviction you get treated worse than a murderer !

Simon_1 07 Jun 2010

Take note of Marks advice above if you are due a medical. Milk thistle is in Tesco cheap as chips. I drink loads usually but abstained from boozing for 8 weeks, drank plenty of water and ate a reduced fat diet. Two days a week in the gym and I felt fantastic. Licence came in the post I was well chuffed. Mark, you are my saviour, Cheers Buddy...... Simon

anonymous_2 23 Sep 2013

I also agree with Mark, you need to get your body into as healthy state a possible, dont drink for at least a month before your medical, as only long term irrepairable liver damage will show. They specifically look at your your "Gamma GT" levels in your blood liver function test, which is the indication they look for to conclude if you are a regular heavy drinker, & at risk of re-offending. Debbie.

dean_1 22 Oct 2019

Hi guys, I had my Dvla test yesterday because my license was revoked due to a home detox 5 years ago. I’ve never been behind the wheel of a car under the influence since I passed my test 26 years ago. The only reason I got flagged up is because I applied for my HGV license and they checked my medical history.

They revoked my license and I lost my job.

Angry is an understatement. I stopped drinking 18 days ago but I do smoke too much.

The doctor also said I had high blood pressure.

I passed this test over a year ago and they gave me a temporary license for 12 months.

I’ve driven without any issues since, so why did I have to go for a test again??

It’s an absolute nightmare! If I loose my license that’s me unemployed for no reason apart from I’m ‘high Risk’.

I’ve done nothing wrong and I’m being penalised for a tragic time in my life that I lost family members due to ironically a car incident!

Wondering what chance I have on passing this test? Any advice welcome.

I enjoy a few beers several times a week, so fingers crossed!

timmy 19 Jun 2010

Hi I've done loads of research on this one! 2 levels are looked for AST drink milk thistle 3 times a day 10 days before test! With 2-3 litres of water to flush your system. This works then GGT smoking raised GGT levels, so don't at least 12 hrs before test. Coffee has just been found to reduce GGT. Drink 5 to 10 cups a day 10 days before, apple juice any anti-oxidants ie fruit grain and nuts and fast for 8 hrs before test reduces GGT. Also testosterone reduces GGT! Hope this helps, taken a week to find all my answers!

anonymous_2 23 Sep 2013

All they do is look for liver damage ie; cirrhosis etc, my third is next month, I am a consistent drinker of medium quantities, I have never stopped drinking untill a day or two beforehand and I've passed both.

Nicola_1 19 Jun 2009

I have been a heavy drinker for the last year mainly beers but the occasional mad parties with vodka. I failed my 1st medical but I am no longer drinking so how long will it take for my liver and blood to be free from alcohol?

MartinOtoole 19 May 2009

I have taken my medical after getting my licence back following a drink drive ban. I am waiting for my licence to come back but have changed address, how do I relate this information to them and which dept?

gices 28 Aug 2009


You need to inform DVLA of your change of address by contacting them on their general enquiry line and asking for the department dealing with return of licences after driving ban has expired.

petrolhead 02 Oct 2019

Is there a private doctor or laboratory I can go to before my DVLA medical test?

I have already posted a question re my dvla medical but does anyone know any labs or private doctors that I could go to who can test my levels on the spot on a saturday?

[Migrated from previous topic 12790 dated 02 Feb 2018]

gizmo 10 Feb 2011

What a relief to find your answers on here!! I have to reapply and take medical so date yet to be determined. I am making appointment with GP, who thankfully is great so will go ASAP and again before making an appointment for the DVLA one. I am concerned as the prolonged damage having previously had liver problems resulting in biospy. Should of been enough but after 10 months not drinking I started weekends etc - then lost my license!

Good Luck to all of you and will def check back to see how people got on.

m3tla 08 Jun 2010

After attending the course for the last 6 weeks, I am still not confident of passing the medical. I am a social drinker. weekends, a few glasses of wine, but afer the course will not drink for at least 3 months.... am so afraid that i will not pass. I have lost my home, my husband and maybe my job. Please take this as a testament as never to repeat this grave miatake. I do agree that if you are caught with this or a similar offence you are treated worse than a murderer.

julieg 15 Apr 2010

the best thing to do before going for a dvla medical, is go to your own gp an have your bloods done there first as it is free. I have failed 2 dvla medicals upto now, even though my results was just slightly hight i failed, due to go back end of this month, but defo wont make the same mistake of giving the dvla my money, will get the all clear from my doctors first. It was the doctor who advised it, so anybody who doest have an understanding doctor get second opion

Carey 16 Mar 2010

hi there i've just had my medical on the 15/03/10 and i think i've passed altho no results back yet. i like to drink wine but only on the weekend and have done for some years, but i done the drivewise course which made me realise for a women that i was drinking in units far more than my weekly safe quoter. so for the last 6 weeks i've not touched a drop of any alcohole and it's been really easy really. at the doctors you pay £96 pound to the doctor and have to show id like a passport, the first thing the doctor done was asked me my hight and weight but did'nt check either and then asked to check my skin so as a lady i was asked to raise my top to about neck level, coz i guess had i have been drinking my skin on my chest would have been reddish in patches. the second thing i had to do was to have my urine tested, im guessing as i did not ask, but i think that was for drugs and lastly i had my blood taken which was sent away to the hospital, but i was told that the dvla would know the results in about three days so if i wanted to know there desision sooner i could call them. the doctor said she had to write a report about me after i left, and it was going to be a really good one but as i had nothing to hide i came across as normal and positive. so all being good i will have my license back about 2 weeks after medical.

anonymous_2 21 Apr 2010

Carey, did you get yr license back. Im due for my medical in a month or so.

Tm 07 Jul 2009

My friend lost his licence because he refused a BTest, he went for a medical, he doesn't drink much but when he was pulled on the morning after a night out, worried about being over etc, He abstained from drinking altogether for nearly 3 weeks before his medical, and he still failed it, saying his results were consistent with a history of alchohol abuse. We are in the middle of appealing now against it.

Jason_2 15 Mar 2009

I drink about 30 to 50 units of alcohol per week on 2 or 3 occasions since losing my licence 2 years ago. I need to do the dvla liver test to get my licence back sooner. Any chance I'll pass? I will not be drinking until the test in about 3 weeks.

anonymous_2 23 Sep 2013

To give yourself the best chance of passing these tests first time, do not drink at all for at least 3 months before taking these tests.
Smoking can also increase GGT, As can being overweight.

The 4 levels you are tested on is GGT, AST, and ALT (Enzymes) and MCV (Blood Cell Volume). These 3 are all enzymes found in the body and more specifically in the liver. Higher levels in the blood indicate alcohol/substance misuse. The other test is called MCV which measures the size of the blood cell. (Alcohol misuse can increase blood cell volume). It is advisable to to ask your Dr to take bloods to confirm your current levels of GGT, AST, and ALT and MCV before having the official DVLA tests. The current guidlines levels can be found on the DVLA website however it will depend on what sex you are and where you live on acceptable levels to pass. If you live in certain parts of Scotland you will be allowed to pass at higher levels than elsewhere in the UK. The current level as of Nov 2010 is GGT 63, AST 34, ALT 35 MCV 100. If you fail one level without a Dr's explanation you will fail and not have your licence back.

gices 28 Jan 2009

It is difficult to tell whether you would pass the drink drive medical test unless you are examined by a doctor. Without examination, it is impossible to tell the state of your liver which is really what the test is based on. If you are worried, you may want to consult your GP to see whether your blood samples are free from alcohol.