Fitness to Drive – The importance of a D4 Medical
Driver Medicals – what do you need to know? The aim of this article is to provide clarity on exactly what a D4 medical is, its importance for drivers and those who manage drivers, and tips for fleet professionals and driver managers to share on how their drivers can stay healthy in preparation for their next one.
Q. Why do we need a Driver Medical?
A. A D4 medical, also known as a “Group 2 Medical,” is a driver medical examination required for professional drivers in the UK. The medical is designed to ensure that drivers are fit to operate vehicles safely and responsibly.
Q. Who requires a D4 Medical?
A. Drivers who are required to have a D4 medical include those who hold a commercial driver’s licence, such as lorries, coaches, buses, and taxis, or those who have certain medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive safely. This includes conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, and heart conditions.
Q. What is the importance of a D4 Medical?
A. A D4 medical is an important safety measure to ensure that drivers can operate vehicles safely and reach the group 2 standard set out by the DVLA. It helps identify any medical conditions that may affect a driver’s ability to drive and ensures that the driver is taking any necessary medication or treatments to manage those conditions. Fundamentally, the medical is integral to help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on the road.
Q. What’s involved in the D4 Medical?
A. A D4 medical includes the completion of the D4 form, a review of the driver’s medical history and then an examination of the driver’s health that includes vision and blood pressure. They may request additional medical tests if necessary. The examination is designed to identify any medical conditions that may affect the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, and to ensure that the driver is taking any necessary medication or treatments to manage those conditions.
Q. What is the typical cost of a D4 Medical
A. The cost of a D4 medical varies depending on who is carrying out the medical and the location of the examination, as well as how long it takes. In general, a standard D4 medical can cost between £50-£100. Some doctors charge more for a D4 medical than a standard medical examination, and some clinics may charge additional fees for more specific tests.
Q. Where can I get my D4 Medical done?
A. Your own GP may offer driver medicals, alongside many private providers. Due to the demand and pressures on the NHS, some GP surgeries have stopped this service, but you can still find many private providers who work with GMC registered doctors who can fill out the D4 form and carry out the medical assessment to the DVLA standard.
Q. What common issues are raised during a D4 Medical?
A. Common issues raised during a D4 medical include vision and hearing problems, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. If a driver has a medical condition that may affect their ability to drive safely, they may be required to provide additional medical information or to undergo further testing. In addition, some drivers may be required to take medication or to make lifestyle changes to manage their medical condition and be able to continue driving.
Q. What information does the DVLA receive?
A. When a driver undergoes a D4 medical examination, the examiner will typically gather information about the driver’s medical history and current health status. This information is then shared with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to help them determine the driver’s fitness to drive.
The doctor does not determine if you are fit to drive, the DVLA have has the responsibility to determine that from the information provided.
Q. How often should fitness to drive be assessed?
A. In line with DVLA requirements, HSE suggests you screen all existing and potential workplace transport operators for fitness before employment and at five-yearly intervals from age 45. Group 2 licences are renewable five-yearly from age 45 and, where an individual is both a workplace transport operator and holds a Group 2 licence these assessments can be made at the same examination. A workplace transport operator who continues after age 65 should have annual assessments for fitness.
Tips to share with your drivers – fitness to drive
- Stay connected: Being on the road can be isolating, so it’s important to try to stay connected with friends and family. This could include things like making regular phone calls, sending texts or emails, or using video chat to stay in touch. – but don’t do it while you’re driving!
- Listen to something good: Whether you listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or music all of these can help reduce stress. Calming music is so readily available and can really help reduce stress. Once your stress levels have returned to normal, we suggest changing the music, as for some people, sounds like the ocean or babbling brooks can cause drowsiness.
- Stay Hydrated: Believe it or not, keeping your water intake at a good level is a really good way to maintain your stress levels. It might be worth investing in a reusable water bottle that you can refill at each of your stops.
- Make sure you’re eating properly: Whether you take food with you or pick something up at the services, nutritionally dense snacks will help maintain a clear head by cutting down cortisol levels.
- Take time out: Taking a time-out can change your mindset and stop you from feeling overwhelmed if something goes wrong on the road. When you stop at services, make sure you step out of the driver’s seat and go on a walk.
- Stretch: Stretching can relax muscles that could be tense from the stresses of driving, and it also helps clear your mind and help prepare you mentally for the remainder of your drive. The next time you’re at a service station or taking a short break in a layby, take some time to stretch.
Van Driver Toolkit – eyesight & medical conditions
In addition, eyesight and medical conditions is one of 6 modules in our Van Driver Toolkit Fitness to Drive series, and is free to anyone who employs or managers drivers. It includes info cards and videos you can share with your drivers.
Fleet Managers and Transport Managers can also register for our 7 Steps to Better Driver Management programme for free – and access a wealth of other resources to support them meet their responsibilities when it comes to their drivers’ wellbeing and their fitness to drive.