2014 News

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24 April 2014

New Medical Fitness to Drive guidelines published

The National Programme for Traffic Medicine, a joint initiative between the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), today launched Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for bus and truck drivers, known as Group 2 drivers.
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 6 months.

At the launch of the Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 2 drivers 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. As a driver, if you’re unsure about whether or not you should report a medical condition, you should seek advice from your doctor or health professional. It is important to remember that if you report your condition, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose your licence. It might mean that you have to see your doctor more often to check that your condition is well managed or it might mean that there are some restrictions placed on your driving.”

Mr. Declan Naughton Director of Driver Testing & Licensing, RSA said, “Firstly, I’d like to thank Professor O’Neill, the National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine, the many medical specialists who gave freely of their time, other stakeholders and my own colleagues who helped in the development of this important document. The establishment of medical guidelines for bus and truck drivers was a much more difficult and onerous task than developing guidelines for car and motorcycle drivers”.

He added “It’s vital to stress that no driver should fear or be concerned about losing their licence as a result of these new guidelines. In fact the opposite is the case. The guideless have developed clear information on medical fitness for such drivers. This means that both health professionals and drivers will now have a much clearer understanding of their obligations. Importantly the guidelines set out clear protocols as to how any medical issues can be better managed to ensure a driver’s livelihood and safety on our roads”

The new Sláinte agus Tiomaint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines also contain updated guidelines for Group 1 drivers and the RSA have committed to updating the standards contained in the Guidelines on an annual basis to ensure that they continue to represent best practice in new and emerging medical literature and guide doctors on the standards as set out in European Directives and regulations made in Ireland under the Road Traffic Acts. 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 Road Safety Authority 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.

Media contact:
Siobhan Creaton, Head of Communications, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 01 8639698/085 8722109

Yvonne McCahill, Media Executive, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 01-8639627/086-7723056


Notes to editor:
Sláinte agus Tiomáint are guidelines for assessing medical fitness to drive for Group 1 motorcycles, cars and tractors and Group 2 drivers trucks and buses. The Guidelines are a Road Safety Authority (RSA) publication that have been developed and launched in two parts. The first part Group 1 Guidelines was published in February 2013 and the second part which contains Group 1 and Group 2 Guidelines has been published today.

The National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine was established in 2011 as a joint initiative by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) to manage the development of these Guidelines. The Guidelines and the Programme’s work is under the directorship of Professor Desmond O’Neill (NPOTM) together with the RCPI Working Group on Traffic Medicine consisting of 36 healthcare and other professional organisations (as listed below). The standards agreed are based on current medical evidence, best practice and include standards set out in current European Directives that enable drivers with medical conditions which may affect their driving to be assessed effectively for a driving licence.

Institution
AA Ireland
An Bord Altranais
An Garda Síochána
Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland
Association of Optometrists Ireland
Clinical Pharmacology, RCSI
College of Psychiatry of Ireland
Coroners Society of Ireland
Forensic and Legal Medicine
Medical Bureau of Road Safety
Faculty of Occupational Medicine
Faculty of Public Health Medicine
Health and Safety Authority
Irish Association for Emergency Medicine
Irish Association of Rehabilitation Medicine
Irish Cardiac Society
Irish College of General Practitioners
Irish College of Nephrology
Irish College of Ophthalmologists
Irish Endocrine Society
Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience
Irish Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery
Irish Association of Orthoptists
Irish Patients Association
Irish Society of Community and Public Health Medicine
HSE   Principal  Medical Officers Group
Irish Society of Physicians in Geriatric Medicine
Irish Society of Rheumatology
Irish Thoracic Society
National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine
Neurosurgeons
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
Psychological Society of Ireland
ADI Chief Examiner
Road Safety Authority
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

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