RSA and RCPI launch consultation process for Group 2 licensed category drivers

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) together with the National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine, a joint initiative between the RSA and Royal College of Physicians of Ireland will launch a public consultation process for Group 2 licensed category drivers (bus and truck drivers) and their representative associations on Monday, 26 August 2013.

This process, which will close on Monday, 30 September 2013, allows these individuals and associations to give feedback on the draft standards for Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines for Group 2. These standards are due to be published by the RSA in January 2014.

The guidelines for Group 2 drivers were preceded by guidelines for Group 1 drivers (car and motor cycle drivers) in Sláinte agus Tiomáint, published in January 2013. These guidelines will replace the existing guidelines for Group 2 drivers issued by the RSA in 2010 in Medical Aspects of Driver Licensing.

The 2014 Group 1 and Group 2 Guidelines are to be published as a single document that will be updated annually to guide doctors in their assessment of drivers with medical conditions which may affect their driving. The standards contained in the Guidelines are based on best practice and guide doctors on the standards set out in European Directives and regulations made in Ireland under the Road Traffic Acts.

All Group 2 drivers must submit a medical report with their application for a driving licence, whether a first time, renewal or exchange application. The vehicles in Group 2 are regarded as higher-risk vehicles which require a higher standard of physical and mental fitness on the part of the driver.

Group 2 category drivers are required to prove their fitness to drive at application or renewal or during their licence period, should their health deteriorate or change in a way that would impact on their ability to drive safely. The Road Safety Authority ask all drivers to self declare certain existing medical conditions when completing a driving licence application, renewal or exchange form. Group 2 drivers need to also submit a Medical Report (D501) with these forms, to be completed by their doctor with each application/renewal. The maximum licensing period for a Group 2 driver is for five years.

Professor Des O’Neill, Director, National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine said; “These guidelines will build on current best practice, and for most drivers will present little change. However, they will also provide better guidance for the general public and the medical profession, as well as reassurance that the risk of crashes due to medical conditions will be minimised while preserving mobility to the greatest extent possible.”

Mr. Michael Rowland, Acting CEO, Road Safety Authority said, “While many factors contribute to road safety, a driver’s health is an important consideration. Medical standards for driver licensing are developed internationally to ensure that the driver’s health status does not increase their crash risk. The aim of the guidelines is to maximise mobility in a way that is compatible with promoting road safety and ensuring medical fitness to drive.”

For further information on Group 2 category drivers and on the consultation please log onto www.rsa.ie.

Media contact:

Maeve Barry, Communications

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

085 850 2005

maevebarry@rcpi.ie

Sláinte agus Tiomáint are guidelines for assessing medical fitness to drive for Group 1 motorcycles, cars and tractors (with or without trailer) and Group 2 drivers trucks and buses (without trailer). The Guidelines are a Road Safety Authority (RSA) publication that are being developed and launched in two parts. The first part Group 1 Guidelines was published in January 2013 and the second part which is the subject of this consultation will contain Group 1 and Group 2 Guidelines and is scheduled for publication in January 2014.

The National Programme Office for Traffic Medicine was established in 2011 as a joint initiative by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) to manage the development of these Guidelines. The Guidelines and the programme work is under the directorship of Professor Desmond O’Neill (NPOTM) together with the RCPI Working Group on Traffic Medicine consisting of 36 healthcare and other professional organisations (as listed below). The standards agreed are based on current medical evidence, best practice and include standards set out in current European Directives that enable drivers with medical conditions which may affect their driving to be assessed effectively for a driving licence.

Further information on the guidelines can be found here.