Being medically fit to drive is essential to road safety. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in association with the National Office for Traffic Medicine (NOTM) at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) recently announced the publication of the 2020 update of the Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 1 and Group 2 drivers and three additional information leaflets offering advice to drivers.
The new leaflets provide information and support on the following:
- Stroke, Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) and Driving
- Vision and Driving
- Pregnancy and Driving
The leaflets aim to promote safe mobility for drivers by explaining how these conditions can affect driving and what drivers can do to help them to continue to drive safely. The leaflets will be useful to GPs, occupational and public health professionals where they need to discuss fitness to drive with their patients.
These new leaflets expand on the existing suite of documents that has 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 and general fitness to drive. The leaflets provide 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.
Link to Guidelines:
Link to Driver Informational Leaflets:
Stroke, Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) & Driving:
Vision & Driving:
Pregnancy & Driving:
Prof. Desmond O’Neill, National Programme Director for Traffic Medicine at RCPI, welcomed the publication of the leaflets by saying: “Ireland is unique in providing a broad range of information supports for drivers with medical conditions, from a growing and comprehensive range of leaflets to information stands at major public events. As well as leaflet for stroke and vision, we are pleased to add this year a leaflet for pregnancy, which of course is a natural process and not a medical condition, but one where issues such as how to wear a seat-belt are very important.”
Declan Naughton, Director of Driver Training & Licensing, Road Safety Authority commented; “This launch reminds us of the wealth of information now available to drivers and medical professionals as regards medical conditions and driving. The key advice is that for the vast majority of medical conditions driving does not need to cease. Once drivers inform themselves of the impact of a condition and act on the advice of their GP, driving can continue or resume in due course as the case may be.”
Prof. Rónán Collins, Clinical Lead for National Stroke Programme at RCPI, Consultant Physician in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine at Tallaght University Hospital, added; “Stroke is the leading cause of acquired adult neurological disability and the new Sláinte agus Tiomáint guidelines recognise both the importance of driving to a full restoration to living after a stroke and the important safety considerations relevant to such neurological injury. The updated guidelines are a clear guide to physicians and considerate of stroke patients’ needs with our greater understanding of stroke and TIA.”
Dr. Sorca O Brien, Specialist Registrar, Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “I am delighted to see this resource launched for pregnant people. It is presented in clear language and addresses concerns that may exist during pregnancy and after birth with regard to safety while driving. Hopefully it will provide pregnant people with reassurance and confidence in their ability to drive during pregnancy and after birth.”
Sean Chen, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, commented; “Driving requires much skill and although vision is only one senses required it is rather an important one. Certain circumstances such as dilating eye drops during an eye examination can affect one’s ability to drive safely and this information leaflet is vital to inform all drivers to maintain their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe on our roads.”
Prof. Mary Horgan, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said; “I am delighted to welcome the publication of three new patient information leaflets which offer advice to drivers with regards to stroke, vision and pregnancy. These leaflets are an invaluable asset for healthcare professionals, patients and the public to help facilitate safer driving.”