Medical conditions such as narcolepsy and cataplexy would disqualify you from obtaining a driving licence


I was wondering if someone can give me an idea where to begin. I would like to help my friend find a car, but the problem is; he has very light narcolepsy and cataplexy. What is the law in South Africa for a narcoleptic driver for insurance and medical aid purposes? Who must I go see and where to register?


You would be disqualified from obtaining a driving licence in terms of section 15 of the National Road Traffic Act. See subsection (1)(f)(ii), (iv) and (vii).

Sec 15.  Disqualification from obtaining or holding learner’s or driving licence

(1)          A person shall be disqualified from obtaining or holding a learner’s or driving licence—

(a)          if he or she—

(i)            in the case of any licence for a motor cycle, motor tricycle or motor quadrucycle having an engine with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 125 cubic centimetres or which is propelled by electrical power or which is a vehicle as contemplated in paragraph (b) of the definition of “motor vehicle”, is under the age of 16 years;

(ii)           in the case of a learner’s licence for a light motor vehicle, being a motor vehicle not of a class referred to in subparagraph (i) and the tare of which does not exceed 3 500 kilograms or, where such motor vehicle is—

(aa)        a bus or goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 3 500 kilograms;

(bb)       an articulated motor vehicle, the gross combination mass of which does not exceed 3 500 kilograms, is under the age of 17 years; or

(iii)          in the case of any other licence, is under the age of 18 years;

(b)          during any period in respect of which he or she has been declared by a competent court or authority to be disqualified from obtaining or holding a licence to drive a motor vehicle, while such disqualification remains in force;

(c)           where a licence to drive a motor vehicle held by him or her has been suspended by a competent court or authority, while such suspension remains in force;

(d)          where a licence to drive a motor vehicle held by him or her has been cancelled by a competent court or authority, for such period as he or she may not apply for a licence;

(e)          if such licence relates to a class of motor vehicle which he or she may already drive under a licence held by him or her;

(f)           if he or she is suffering from one of the following diseases or disabilities:

(i)            Uncontrolled epilepsy;

(ii)           sudden attacks of disabling giddiness or fainting due to hypertension or any other cause;

(iii)          any form of mental illness to such an extent that it is necessary that he or she be detained, supervised, controlled and treated as a patient in terms of the Mental Health Act, 1973 (Act No. 18 of 1973);

(iv)         any condition causing muscular incoordination;

(v)          uncontrolled diabetes mellitus;

(vi)         defective vision ascertained in accordance with a prescribed standard;

(vii)        any other disease or physical defect which is likely to render him or her incapable of effectively driving and controlling a motor vehicle of the class to which such licence relates without endangering the safety of the public: Provided that deafness shall not of itself be deemed to be such a defect;

(g)          if he or she is addicted to the use of any drug having a narcotic effect or the excessive use of intoxicating liquor; or

(h)          in such other circumstance as may be prescribed, either generally or in respect of a particular class of learner’s or driving licence.

(2)          The chief executive officer concerned may, if he or she deems it expedient and on such conditions as he or she may deem fit, declare that any person shall no longer be subject to any disqualification, suspension or cancellation by a competent authority referred to in subsection (1) (b), (c) or (d), respectively: Provided that in the case of any cancellation such declaration shall be subject to section 25 (9).

Sec 16.  Failure to disclose disqualification in respect of licence authorising driving of motor vehicle prohibited

(1)          No person shall, when applying for a learner’s or driving licence, wilfully fail to disclose any disqualification to which he or she is subject in terms of section 15.

(2)          Any person who—

(a)          is the holder of a licence authorising the driving of a motor vehicle in terms of this Chapter; and

(b)          becomes aware thereof that he or she is disqualified from holding such licence, shall, within a period of 21 days after having so become aware of the disqualification, submit the licence or, in the case where it is contained in an identity document, that document to the chief executive officer of the province concerned.

(3)          When a licence is submitted in terms of subsection (2) the chief executive officer shall cancel it and if the licence was issued in a prescribed territory he or she shall notify the authority which issued it of the cancellation: Provided that if the chief executive officer is satisfied that the holder thereof is competent to drive the class of motor vehicle concerned with the aid of glasses, an artificial limb or any other physical aid, the chief executive officer shall, in the case where the licence—

(a)          is contained in an identity document—

(i)            not cancel the licence, but endorse the licence accor-dingly and such endorsement shall be a condition subject to which the licence is held;

(ii)           return the identity document to the holder thereof; or (b)          is not contained in an identity document, issue or authorise the issue of a new licence in the prescribed manner reflecting the conditions on which it is issued.


Alta Swanepoel & Associates

Also view:

Medication and Road Safety

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