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Thousands more drivers refused a licence on medical grounds

Figures unveiled by the Unite Union following a Freedom of Information act to the DVLA show that in 2005 a total of 4,583 drivers had their licence refused or revoked and by 2018 this number had increased to 12,242.

Last year the figure was 7,209 but the requirement for drivers to undergo a medical assessment, in order to continue driving, was suspended from March 2020 to January 2021 due to the pandemic.

Increase impacting current national driver crisis

The huge increase is exacerbating the nation’s present supply chain crisis but the news is not a surprise to us and we already have systems in place to begin bringing the number down.

We work with individuals and training providers to supply the D4 medical to all of those who drive commercially and we have launched new screening measures to help tackle the growing number of licences refused on medical grounds.

New driver screening measures to prevent medical issues

Medical Director Dr Joe Pearson says: “At D4Drivers we have been aware of this as an issue for quite some time and it is something we have been working to combat. The current requirement for a driver over the age of 45 is to get reviewed every five years, this is dangerously inadequate.”

“We have been working with RoSPA to highlight how the high levels of heart disease, sleep apnoea, mental illness and work pressures lead to increased sickness, accidents and reduced productivity.”

Regular health surveillance

“The most important option that we have introduced is driver screening and we are also very close to being able to provide regular health surveillance and remote medical monitoring to promote wellness and prevent sickness with the obvious benefits to the driver and the company and society as a whole.”

“Drivers themselves are responsible for ensuring that they report to the DVLA any condition which affects their ability to drive safely. However, experience tells us that drivers often underestimate or misunderstand the impact of changes to their health or medications, and this can have serious consequences in the form of more ill-health and more accidents.”

Driver fitness certificates

“We now provide employers with a fitness certificate for each driver who passes their medical so that a record of their assessment can be held on file and employers know that they are monitoring driver health on a regular basis.”

Unite said the figures were “alarming but unsurprising” and raised concerns about the health problems which “are only going to get worse as the average age of the driving workforce increases”.