New Medical Guidelines for at work drivers

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. In addition it also contain updated guidelines for Group 1 drivers so it will affect all employees who may drive as part of their work, even if infrequently and using their own vehicles.

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, however, this will mean that there are circumstances where an individual will be advised that they are not “fit to drive” for as specified period of time, which may have an impact on business operations.

Drivers Duty to Declare Fitness

The duty is on the driver (the employee) to declare to a doctor any condition that could impair their driving. For Group 1 drivers, this is the area that has been updated within the guide. Employers should amend their driving for work policies to include the specific medical conditions that could affect an employee’s fitness to drive and state that employees should speak to their doctor.

 

Employers have duties too

While it is the specific duty of a driver to notify their doctor, employers should not knowingly allow employees to drive for work if they are aware the employee suffers from or meets one of the following criteria without confirmation from a medical practitioner that the employee is fit to drive.:

Specified diseases and disabilities which need to be reported on application for, or renewal of, a driver licence:
 
· Diabetes treated by insulin and or sulphonylurea tablets (your doctor can advise whether you are on these or not)   no need to tell us if managed by other tablets and or diet.    
· Epilepsy.
· Stroke or TIAs(*1)(minor strokes) with any associated symptoms lasting longer than one month.
· Fits or blackouts.
· Any type of brain surgery, brain abscess or severe head Injury involving in-patient treatment or brain tumour or spinal injury or spinal tumour.
· An implanted cardiac pacemaker.
· An implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD)(*2) .
· Repeated attacks of sudden disabling dizziness.  
· Any other chronic neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson disease and Huntington’s disease.
· A serious problem with memory or periods of confusion.
· Persistent alcohol misuse or dependency.
· Persistent drug misuse or dependency.
· Serious psychiatric illness or mental health problems.
· Parkinson’s disease.
· Sleep Apnoea syndrome.
· Narcolepsy.
· Any condition affecting the drivers peripheral vision.  
· Total loss of sight in one eye.
· Any condition affecting both eyes, or the remaining eye if driver only has one eye (Not including colour blindness or short or long sight).
· A serious hearing deficiency.
· Any persisting problem with arm(s) or leg(s) which needs driving to be restricted to certain types of vehicle or those with adapted controls.
· Adaption of the driver’s vehicle because of a physical disability to enable you to drive.  
· Severe learning disability.

The guide also has information on temporary suspicion of driving for certain medications and conditions. Again, this is important information to include in driving for work policies and to communicate to employees.

The full guide can be accessed on the RSA’s website via:
http://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Licensed%20Drivers/Medical_Issues/Sl%c3%a1inte_agus_Tiom%c3%a1int_Medical_Fitness_to_Drive_Guidelines.pdf