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Drivers (Physical Fitness)

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the regulations governing the physical fitness required for drivers of commercial coaches, of heavy goods vehicles and commercial aircraft, respectively; and what steps he has taken to satisfy himself of the adequacy of these regulations in terms of the safety of the public.

Holders of United Kingdom pilot licences are required by the Civil Aviation Authority, which is solely responsible for aviation safety standards, to hold a valid and appropriate medical certificate.A public service or heavy goods vehicle driver applying for a first or subsequent vocational licence is required to be medically fit and to have been free from any epileptic attack since reaching the age of five. The licensing authorities are guided by standards recommended by the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention in its publication "Medical Aspects of Fitness to Drive" (4th edition published last month).Compliance is checked by a declaration every time a driver applies, and by an initial medical examination. Public service vehicle drivers are required to submit a fresh medical report with every five-yearly renewal application from the age of 46, and then annually from the age of 65; heavy goods vehicle drivers have to provide a report with renewals every three years from the age of 60. Both categories of driver are required by law to report to DVLC the onset or worsening of any disability which is expected to last more than three months.These procedures were reviewed by a working party which reported in September 1983, and I announced the Government's conclusions about its proposals in my answer to the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) on 14 June 1985, at columns

593–94. Our aim is to identify, directly and by bringing the risks to the attention of doctors, the small percentage of drivers whose medical history indicates that they present a high risk.