Driving and health issues

Leaflet: will help drivers to be more aware of the impact of health problems

Driving and health issues

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in association with the National Office for Traffic Medicine (NOTM) at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has 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 Transcient 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 Licencing, 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.”