Road safety specialists call for new medical fitness test for drivers

Darren Cassey, PA Motoring Reporter
·1-min read

A safety group has reminded drivers they must take responsibility for their own fitness to be behind the wheel as there is no medical test for motorists.

The call has come from GEM Motoring Assist, which says it supports a report from the European Transport Safety Council that was issued last week. In it, the current approach to assessing a driver’s medical fitness was criticised.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “This report confirms that mandatory age-based screening of older drivers is ineffective in preventing severe collisions.”

Drivers are responsible for their own safety and fitness to drive, with the only rules currently in place requiring drivers over the age of 70 to declare they are fit to drive every three years.

Worth said that this reliance on over-70s self-reporting was concerning, adding: “We believe that an age-based self-certification system should be replaced by regular medical examinations for drivers of all ages, with checks on eyesight, hearing, vision and blood pressure.

“However, in the absence of an effective re-testing framework, it’s vital that we each take responsibility for our own safety.

“We want as many people as possible to enjoy the freedom of the open road as drivers, but safety must be the priority.”

GEM says medical conditions such as substance abuse, mental disorders, epilepsy and diabetes can all affect someone’s ability to drive, but there is nothing in place to automatically stop people driving.