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New Driver information leaflets will help drivers to be more aware of the impact of health problems on their driving

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The new leaflet ‘Your Health and Driving’ provides general information for drivers about how their health can affect driving and what they can do to help them to keep driving safely.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in association with the National Office for Traffic Medicine (NOTM) at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) today announced the publication of an additional patient information leaflet offering advice to drivers at the 2019 update of the Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 1 & 2 Drivers.

A significant change to the 2019 Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines relates to driving after Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or mini-stroke:  Based on current clinical evidence from the North Dublin Stroke Study, the period of driving cessation for Group 1 drivers has been reduced from 4 weeks to 1 week, provided clinical recovery is satisfactory.

The new leaflet is the latest in a suite of leaflets that have been developed by the RSA to provide information and support for drivers with medical conditions. Previous leaflets provided information about driving with epilepsy, sleep apnoea, cardiac conditions, alcohol problems and short-term illnesses/injuries.

The new leaflet aims to raise awareness about how health can affect driving more generally and to promote safe mobility for drivers with medical conditions.

It provides guidance on what drivers with medical conditions should do to help them drive safely, including managing and monitoring their condition, seeking advice and support from their doctor(s) and where required, notifying the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) about their condition.

Prof Desmond O’Neill, National Programme Director for Traffic Medicine at RCPI welcomed the publication of the driver information leaflet,“This new resource will not only provide easily accessible information to drivers to help them to make decisions about their driving and to stay safe on the road, but it will aid GPs, occupational and public health professionals as it will help them to start a conversation with their patients about medical fitness to drive.”

Mr Declan Naughton, Director of Driver Training and Licensing, Road Safety Authority commented, “When we think about how illness might affect our lives, we don’t always make the link as to how it might affect our driving. It’s important that this connection is made because very often simple steps we take can allow us to drive safely and go about our normal daily lives. The practical information in this leaflet will support this.”

Dr Tony Cox, Medical Director, Irish College of GPs added, “‘GPs welcome this new leaflet on Your Health and Driving. As GPs we have a responsibility to ensure that our patients continue to drive safely. Likewise, our patients have a responsibility to report any conditions that may impair their driving ability. This new leaflet will enable doctors to have that conversation with their patients to ensure that they continue to maintain their health, follow medical advice and maintain their driving mobility in a safe and responsible fashion.”

You can download the updated Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines; Sláinte agus Tiomáint here

You can download the new leaflet “Your Health and Driving” here

Notes

Sláinte agus Tiomáint provides guidance on medical fitness for drivers and highlights 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 (NOTM) together with the RCPI Working Group on Traffic Medicine consisting of 37 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
• National Office for Traffic Medicine
• RCPI Working Group on Traffic Medicine
• Road Safety Authority and National Driver Licence Service

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