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Driving for Work Over the Age of 70

With age there is an increased likelihood of an individual having health issues which may impact upon their ability to undertake some, or all their role (including driving) and this is already recognised in many areas of occupational health assessment i.e. increased frequency of safety critical medicals with age etc.


With the average age of the population and workforce increasing and more and more people deciding to remain a part of the workforce for longer, it is important for employers to be pro-active in educating the workforce about potential risks associated with driving, undertake comprehensive driver risk assessments, introduce appropriate control measures and learn how to recognise when an individual’s age may impact upon their staff’s ability to drive safely.


Although there is no legislation which dictates that you must undertake general driver medicals, as opposed to those stipulated by the DVLA i.e. Medical examination report for a lorry or bus driving licence (D4) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), workplace medicals undertaken by OH for those driving as part of their role is seen as best practice. 


The point at which a business decides that a driver medical is required will depend upon the workplace risk assessment, and this may vary from one business to another, even within the same line of work.


General driver medicals should be undertaken every 5 years, in line with your risk assessment, and help to ensure the safety of your drivers, their colleagues, visitors and members of the public.


Alongside the provision of general driver medicals employers should consider providing specific training for staff on the risks associated with driving in line with guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/employers/work-drivertraining.pdf


This may include:

  • Provision of advanced “defensive” driver training and regular refresher training or functional assessments for staff to ensure that staff can undertake key driving manoeuvres.

  • Encouraging drivers to plan their routes in advance and to take regular breaks if driving long distances i.e. 15 min every 2 hours as a minimum.

  • Reducing in-cab/vehicle distractions (remembering that use of a mobile phone whilst driving now attracts a £200 fine and 6 penalty points).


For employees approaching their 70th birthday employers should remember that the individual will need to re-apply for their driving licence (this can be done from 90 days before their 70th birthday), individuals will need to renew it every 3 years subsequently. This can be undertaken online https://www.gov.uk/renew-driving-licence-at-70 and requires the individual to confirm that they meet the minimum eyesight requirements and that they


MUST disclose specific health issue including:

  • Dementia

  • Diabetes requiring insulin treatment

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Epilepsy

  • Sleep apnoea

  • Any physical disabilities or visual impairments

 

Employers may wish to provide training for employees and supervisory managers about how age may impact up driving ability, and help staff to have frank and open discussions about issues which may impact upon driving ability including:

  • Eyesight

  • Changes in medical conditions

  • Physical mobility

  • Tiredness

  • Making decisions

  • Driving history (near misses)

 

You may also want to consider whether there are alternatives to your staff driving, is it feasible to look at alternative ways of your staff undertaking their role, i.e. by using public transport or taxis. The following link takes you to a cost calculator to help determine the feasibility of doing so - https://olderdrivers.org.uk/retire-from-driving/Cost-Calculator

 

Minibus drivers over the age of 70

Specific guidance, the driving of a minibus for those over 70 years of age, has very specific requirements, further information about which can be found in the following link https://www.gov.uk/driving-a-minibus

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