Medical fitness test for drivers set for shake-up

A doctor checks a patient’s blood pressure

You’ve already passed your test – so how would you feel about having to undergo regular medical tests to check whether you’re still fit to get behind the wheel?

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has called for the current assessment of whether drivers are medically fit to hold a licence to be revised. Here’s what it’s saying…

Age-based assessments

Published last week, the ETSV report found many EU countries still use age-based assessments to determine a driver’s medical fitness.

It argues, however, that specific medical conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes, plus factors like substance abuse, outweigh the dangers of age.

The information also suggests that mandatory, age-based screening of older drivers is ineffective in preventing severe collisions. 

GEM Motoring Assist supports the European Transport Safety Council’s report. Its chief executive Neil Worth said: “Drivers are responsible for their own safety and fitness to drive, with the only rules currently in place requiring drivers over the age of 70 to declare they are fit to drive every three years.

“We believe that an age-based self-certification system should be replaced by regular medical examinations for drivers of all ages, with checks on eyesight, hearing, vision and blood pressure.

“However, in the absence of an effective re-testing framework, it’s vital that we each take responsibility for our own safety.”

Report a medical condition

Medical conditions affect people’s ability to drive, but there aren’t currently measures in place to automatically stop an affected person from driving.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility to tell the DVLA about medical conditions or disabilities that affect your driving – otherwise risk a fine of up to £1,000, or far worse.

The DVLA should get back to you with a decision on how you should continue within six weeks. It might:

  • contact your doctor or consultant
  • arrange for you to be examined
  • ask you to take a driving assessment, or an eyesight or driving test

If the DVLA says you must stop driving, you can make an appeal if you disagree with the decision. 

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