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.
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.
|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|
|Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland|
|Psychological Society of Ireland|
|ADI Chief Examiner|
|Road Safety Authority|
|Royal College of Physicians of Ireland|