Sunderland nurse denied driving licence after final bid to Transport Minister fails

A nurse who had her driving licence revoked, despite a 30-year unblemished motoring record, has lost in her last ditch attempt to win it back.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 9:32 am
The DVLA and Minister for Transport won't allow Michelle Willis to drive, despite her unblemished 30-year driving record.

Michelle Willis was born with a tumour where her right eye should be, but this did not prevent her from passing her test in 1983 and driving safely until 2013.

That was when, after a routine optician visit, she dutifully informed the DVLA of a ‘pit’ at the back of her left eye that a specialist was unconcerned by.

Now, despite the help of a solicitor and MP Bridget Phillipson, Transport Minister Michael Ellis has confirmed that he stands by the DVLA’s original decision.

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Dedicated nurse Michelle Willis still can't drive after the Minister for Transport upheld a decision by the DVLA.

Michelle, 52, says her failure in a peripheral vision test is due to the position of her eye and and not because her sight is bad.

An angry Michelle, 52, from Hall Farm, said: “I’ve had a solicitor fighting for me since 2013. I can’t do any more. I’m at the end of the line.

“It’s a congenital defect. I’ve always had it. The RVI told me it’s a defect that doesn’t change. I drove for 30 years. They haven’t tested my ability to drive.

“I keep wondering; if my eyesight isn’t good enough for me to drive - how am I doing my job? This is what my solicitor was trying to negotiate with the Government. I just feel as if I’ve been penalised by science.

MP Bridget Phillipson's intervention on behalf of Michelle Willis was not successful.

“What I don’t get is that I’m not classed as partially sighted. I’m 53 next month and I’ve never had any problem with my eyesight.

“I’ve undergone Esterman tests for my peripheral vision. Once I failed that they automatically took my licence from me. But my eye isn’t in the same position as everyone else’s. They haven’t taken this into consideration since they changed the rules and regulations in 2013.

“The Government has to contribute towards my travel costs. Public transport isn’t always running when I do my shifts.”

In a letter to Ms Phillipson, Transport Minister Michael Ellis wrote that derogation (legal exemption) was not possible for Michelle.

Michelle Willis with her father Thomas Willis, who has supported her throughout her campaign.

He said: “Tests have confirmed that Ms Willis is unable to meet the statutory minimum vision standards required for safe driving.”