Innovative Strategies for the road ahead.

Setting fitness to drive standards

Driving a motor vehicle is a complex task requiring perception, good judgement, responsiveness, and reasonable physical capability. A range of medical conditions, as well as treatments, may impair driving ability. Common examples include blackouts or fainting, sleep disorders, vision problems, diabetes, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, heart disease, and age-related decline.

Just because a driver has a disease or condition that might affect his/her driving, doesn’t mean that they will not be able to drive at all. It might just mean that the driver has to see a doctor more often to check that the illness is well managed or it might mean that there are some restrictions placed on their driving.

It is advised that professional drivers take fitness to drive check every year and to install bi-annual checks for staff that drives occasionally. All staff should be advised to undertake a health check sooner whenever they suspect they have a problem. This includes eye tests.

Eye tests should be carried out by qualified optometrists, and should include a test of the driver’s horizontal and vertical range of vision.

Medical conditions that can affect vision include glaucoma, diabetes, a stroke and heart disease.

It’s important to ensure that your drivers are mentally and physically fit to drive using a process of self-declaration. Drivers must be advised that they must notify management if they have disabilities or conditions that could prevent them from driving safely. A minimum ‘fitness to drive’ standard must be set, and procedures should be in place to ensure that these are met.

In the attachment, you can find a series of recommended minimum standards, which can be used to draw up your organisation's driver medical standards and fitness to drive.

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