2017 news

27 April 2017

New driver information leaflets published for drivers with health problems

New information leaflets will provide helpful advice on driving with Epilepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) and driving after an injury

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in association with the National Office for Traffic Medicine (NOTM) today published three new driver information leaflets at the 2017 update of theMedical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 1 & 2 Drivers at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

The leaflets, developed by the RSA and the NOTM, provide helpful instructions and advice on driving with health problems such as Epilepsy and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) as well as driving after an injury. The leaflets also outline information about how and when drivers need to contact the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) to notify them of their condition.

According to research, 36,844 people over the age of 5 in Ireland suffer from Epilepsy, giving a prevalence rate of 9 per 1,000 people.*

Meanwhile, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea affects between 2.5 and 4 percent of the population. However, most people who suffer with this condition remain undiagnosed.**

The aim of the new leaflets is to educate drivers with and to promote mobility by providing them with the information and resources necessary to drive safely. This year’s leaflets follow the first three launched last year, which carried information for drivers with cardiac conditions, diabetes and alcohol problems.

Speaking at the launch, Prof Desmond O’Neill, National Programme Director for Traffic Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) said: “I welcome the publication of the leaflets. Supporting drivers to be well-informed about medical conditions and how they relate to driving is a key element of promoting safe mobility in Ireland.”

Also speaking at the launch, Mr Declan Naughton, Director Driver Testing and Licensing at the RSA said: “The publication of these new leaflets is another important step in keeping motorists informed of the impact health problems can have on their driving. I would urge all drivers who have Epilepsy, Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) and those returning to the wheel following an injury, to take heed of the advice outlined in these leaflets.”

The revised Sláinte agus Tiomáint: Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines and the new information leaflets are available to download on ndls.ie, rsa.ie and rcpi.ie

Please see here for links to view each of the publications.

Sláinte agus Tiomáint: Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines

Epilepsy, Seizure and Driving

Emergency Department (ED): getting back to driving after injury

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) and Driving

 For more information, please contact: Yvonne McCahill, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland-01-8639627/086-7723056


Sláinte agus Tiomáint provides guidance on medical fitness to drive and is aimed primarily at medical professionals and those working at the interface between road safety and health e.g. On-road Driving Assessors, the National Driver Licence Service. It supports clinicians in providing guidance to patients who may have medical fitness to drive issues. The guidelines highlight the need for all of us to appreciate that the state of our health impacts, to a greater or lesser degree, on our ability to drive safely.

Driver fitness is governed by EU law and regulations made in Ireland under the Road Traffic Acts. Sláinte agus Tiomáint is an interpretation of these laws; however, the Directive/regulations form the overriding legal basis for driver medical fitness in Ireland. One of the objectives of Sláinte agus Tiomáint is to promote mobility and to do this in a way that is consistent with safety on our roads. Once a driver is aware of any health aspects that impact on driving and follows the advice of their doctor, they can continue to drive in most cases.

Traffic Medicine

The National Office for Traffic Medicine was established in 2011 as a joint initiative by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Road Safety Authority to manage the development of Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines and the development of traffic medicine policy in Ireland. The programme work is under the directorship of Professor Desmond O’Neill together with the RCPI Working Group on Traffic Medicine consisting of 36 healthcare and other professional organisations.

Individuals and Groups involved in the Medical Fitness to Drive process

  • Medical Doctors 
  • Occupational Therapists
  • On-road Driving Assessors
  • Road users and the general public will also find these guidelines helpful
  • Other Healthcare Professionals

Groups involved in the production of the driver advice leaflets 

  • Irish Sleep Society
  • St James’ Hospital
  • Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

*http://www.epilepsy.ie/index.cfm/spKey/research.current_projects.prevalence.html. ** Dr Michael McWeeney, Consultant Respiratory Physican in the Galway Clinic and the Bon Secours Hospital



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