Disqualified drink-drivers who are categorised as “high risk offenders” must prove they are fit to drive again by undergoing a medical examination before their licence can be renewed.
High risk offenders can include motorists caught drink-driving on two or more occasions, drivers who are highly over the limit and motorists who refuse to provide a specimen.
The DVLA has made these drivers pay for the cost of the medical examination, but has now discovered that the law does not allow for this in a small number of cases such as a specific category of drink-drivers who failed to provide a specimen.
Around 3,000 drivers have been wrongly charged over the last 20 years.
Transport minister Mike Penning said: “Yet again this Government is having to clear up the mess left to us by Labour.
“This was a timebomb that Labour ignored for 13 years, which we are determined to sort out in our first year.”
A Department of Transport source said: “On identification of the problem last December, we changed our administrative processes.
“We no longer charge the medical fee (currently £90 plus VAT) to these applicants and we are refunding the £25 administration premium built into their application fee that covers the set up of the medical and consideration of its results.
“We have identified 3,415 cases involving around 2,800 drivers which qualify for consideration of a refund and are confident that these records can now be used as the trigger for action.”