Why is a driver medical so important?15 Mar 2019
Safety at work and on the roads is everyone’s responsibility. If driving is the main or a key element of your job, it’s important that you undergo regular driver medicals to ensure that you remain fit to drive. Being fit to drive is a legal requirement for professional drivers, so it’s essential that you inform your employer and undergo a reassessment if your health status has changed (if you now have to wear glasses, have had a heart attack or been diagnosed with diabetes, for example).
Do I need a driver medical?
A driver medical may be required by law or as a condition of your insurance. If you drive a large or passenger carrying vehicle (including a car carrying clients or colleagues) as part of your job, it is likely that you will require a driver medical. Forklift truck drivers and those operating heavy machinery are also likely to require a driver medical.
What happens at a driver medical?
At NHS Occupational Health Portsmouth, driver medical assessments are carried out by an occupational health nurse. The test begins with a health questionnaire. This is designed to flag any areas that could affect your health or ability to drive. It’s vital that you answer accurately and truthfully, as false answers could endanger your health and safety, as well as the safety of others.
The nurse will also perform non-invasive routine tests to confirm that you are safe to drive. These typically include:
- Eye sight test
- Hearing test (if required)
- Height and weight check
- Blood pressure check
- Urine analysis test
What happens to the results of the driver medical tests?
The results of the checks and tests performed by the nurse will be analysed by a qualified nurse or doctor and assessed based on the driving conditions required for your role. As different driving roles have different safety criteria, it’s possible that the same person might be considered fit to drive for one role and not for another.
Once the assessment has been made, the results will be passed back to both the employee and the employer. If new medical information is uncovered (such as a high blood pressure) then a follow-up appointment with your own doctor may be recommended.
What happens if I fail a driver medical?
Driver medical tests are designed to keep both drivers and others safe. For this reason, if you fail a driver medical you will no longer be able to drive in a professional capacity in the role you were doing. Depending on the reason for failing the medical test, you may or may not be able to drive other vehicles, such as a car. If you have health concerns which make you worry that you would not pass a driver medical test, it’s essential that you speak to both your doctor and your employer. In many cases, with proper treatment, you will be able to take and pass a new driver medical test in the future.