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 the 2021 update of the Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 1 and Group 2 drivers. The Guidelines will be launched at a special webinar on 29 April 2021 from 2:00pm - 3:30pm and all those with an interest in traffic medicine, mobility and road safety are invited to attend.
The event will also include the launch of a new leaflet that provides advice to people with ADHD and their parents/caregivers about learning to drive with ADHD. This leaflet aims to promote safe mobility for drivers by explaining how ADHD can affect driving and what people with ADHD and their parents/caregivers can do to help them to make decisions about learning to drive and provides tips on save driving. The leaflets will be useful to GPs, occupational and public health professionals where they need to discuss fitness to drive with their patients.
This new leaflet expands on the existing suite of leaflets that has been developed by the NDLS/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, Stroke, vision, short-term illnesses/injuries, general fitness to drive. An advice leaflet for driving during pregnancy has also be developed. The leaflets provide guidance on what drivers with medical and other 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 leaflets:“The new edition of the guidelines and driver information leaflets are important additions to preserving mobility and safety on the roads. Alcohol use disorders represent a major threat to road safety, and updating the leaflet provides an opportunity to increase awareness of the problem and a reminder of the need for seeking treatment as well. Mobility and being able to drive is very important for all young people for social inclusion and issues such as employment: the leaflet on ADHD provides a useful support for those with the condition, their parents and healthcare professionals to help them engage with driving safely”.
Mr. Declan Naughton, Director of Driver Training and Licensing, Road Safety Authority commented: “The RSA and National Office of Traffic Medicine continue to provide guidance and support to various cohorts of drivers to enable them to continue driving safely. Today we launch a leaflet for those affected by ADHD giving practical advice as to how they can remain safe on our roads. We also want to take the opportunity, as part of the Sláinte agus Tiomáint guidelines launch, to raise awareness among employers of the driver licensing rules that apply to employees who are driving for work and who misuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs”.
Mr Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector in the Operational Compliance and Prevention Division, Health & Safety Authority commented: “Medical fitness to drive is a key consideration in the safe use of farm vehicles, both on the farm and on our public roads. Given the high numbers of older farmers involved in farm vehicle related fatalities, the inclusion of the short note in these guidelines for physicians to consider the often complex nature of working with tractors and other farm vehicles is welcomed. Ensuring medical fitness to drive, particularly for our older farmers, will help ensure their safety and the safety of other road users.”
Dr Blánaid Gavin, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCD, commented:“The launch of the new ADHD and Driving Leaflet is a very welcome development given the prevalence of ADHD and the relative lack of understanding of the condition in the general population.”
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.
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.