1 May 2014

New Medical Fitness to Drive guidelines

The National Programme for Traffic Medicine has launched new medical fitness to drive guidelines for bus and truck drivers, known as Group 2 drivers.

This is a joint initiative between the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCP).

As in the past these guidelines require a higher standard of physical and mental fitness on the part of these drivers in light of the duration of time they spend behind the wheel and the greater size and weight of their vehicles.

The updated guidelines have been drafted following a public consultation process with these drivers and their associations. The new guidelines will continue to require all Group 2 drivers to submit a medical report with their application for a driving licence, whether it is a first time, renewal or exchange application. All drivers during a valid licence are required to notify the NDLS should their health deteriorate or change in a way that would impact on their ability to drive safely for a period of time longer than six months.

At the launch of the Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines, Professor Desmond O'Neill, National Programme Director for Traffic Medicine said "The new Guidelines allow drivers with well-managed health conditions to continue to drive safely." Declan Naughton Director of Driver Testing & Licensing, RSA said it is vital to stress that no driver should fear, or be concerned about losing their licence as a result of these new guidelines.

The Guidelines also contain updated guidelines for Group 1 drivers which includes motorcycles, cars and tractors. The main aim of the document is to assist doctors in their assessment of drivers with medical conditions which may affect their fitness to drive. The RSA asks all drivers to self declare certain existing medical conditions when completing a driver licence application, renewal or exchange form. Group 2 drivers need to also submit a Medical Report (D501) with these forms, to be completed by their doctor with each application/renewal. The maximum licensing period for a Group 2 driver is for five years.

The Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines were developed by the National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine in consultation with Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Working Group on Traffic Medicine, which represents 36 organisations, including medical professionals, patient organisations, driver licensing authority, industry and drivers.