'My life is in limbo' - Man's frustration at DVLA test wait

Jason Couchman

Jason Couchman says the DVLA has left him in limbo - Credit: Anthony Carroll

A tool firm worker with an eye condition says his life has been left in limbo due to long waits to get hold of a new driving licence. 

Jason Couchman, 51 and of Caister, says it is unacceptable for the DVLA to take so long to process eye tests to see if people are allowed back behind the wheel.

Mr Couchman has optic neuritis in his left eye and has to reapply every three years to drive vehicles up to three and half tonnes.

He works for Norwich tool firm Curtis Holt and he says his future is uncertain while the test results process hangs over him.

The DVLA says such processes ensure the safety of the driver as a priority.

Mr Couchman had a DVLA-sanctioned eye test earlier in the year at Specsavers and was told he had failed it.

That overall process took seven months from the original application.

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Mr Couchman, who lives in Wight Drive, disputes the findings as his own optician says he is fit to drive in a letter and at the end of last month he re-took an official test with Specsavers.

He claims he was told on the phone by the DVLA it would take another six weeks to process the latest test.

Mr Couchman, whose eye condition meant he lost a HGV licence in 2011, said:  "I was told on the phone it would be six weeks. I was there when the optician sent off the test in an email, how can it take six weeks to look at it?

"I just need to know what is happening. I have effectively put my life on hold.

"I don't know what's going to happen next.

"I am just a number to them, but my life is in limbo now."

His case has also been taken up by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis, who says he will raise the issue with the DVLA.

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth.

MP Brandon Lewis has taken up the issue - Credit: Denise Bradley

In a statement the DVLA said: "When considering whether a licence can be issued we aim to make a decision as quickly as we can.

"As we need to consider all the information we have received from the driver and those involved in their medical care it can take a little time. It is important we carefully review the information we receive to ensure the safety of the driver is put first."