Regulatory lawyer specialising in criminal motor matters, Charlotte Le Maire of LMP Legal looks at health declaration forms for those who drive for work and how those who manage drivers should be using them to understand their drivers and to gather the information needed to keep everyone safer on the roads.
Health Declaration Forms in Driving
A common question I’m asked by companies is ‘what should be included on driver health declaration forms to cover myself and the company’
The first issue is that we should be thinking about how they are a helpful tool for driver managers to understand their drivers and to give the information that might be needed to keep everyone safer on the roads.
Of course, the forms are used to protect everyone, including to show the Company takes its obligations seriously but they cannot be simply a tick box exercise.
Drivers need to understand the importance and significance of these declarations and that involves proper training. This form can, if used correctly, serve as a self-assessment tool for drivers to declare any health conditions that might affect their driving abilities. However, it is not a get out of jail free card for managers and companies to simply put everything at the door of the driver with one simple tick box form.
It is simply one tool and one form of effective driver communication.
Completing a Health Declaration Form Driving – the law
The key components of a Health Declaration Form are as follows:
- **Personal Information**: This includes basic details such as the driver’s name, address, contact information, and driving licence number.
- **Medical History**: A comprehensive section detailing the driver’s medical history, including any known conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, or cardiovascular diseases. This part should cover both current and past health issues.
- **Medication Details**: It is crucial for drivers to declare any medication they are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs. Some medications have side effects that could impair driving, such as drowsiness or delayed reaction times.
- **Vision Standards**: Drivers should confirm they meet the legal vision standards for driving. This might include a declaration that they have had a recent eye test and are using prescribed glasses or contact lenses if needed.
- **Mental Health Status**: Given the growing awareness of mental health issues, this section is increasingly important. Drivers should disclose any mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that might impact their driving.
- **Lifestyle Factors**: Information about lifestyle choices that can influence driving ability, such as alcohol consumption and drug use, should be included.
- **Acknowledgement of Responsibility**: The form should end with a declaration that the information provided is accurate to the best of the driver’s knowledge and an acknowledgement of the legal responsibilities as a driver.
Avoiding the Pitfalls in Health Declaration Forms
- **Incompleteness**: The most common pitfall is an incomplete form. Drivers must provide detailed and accurate information in every section. Leaving out information can have serious legal and safety implications.
- **Lack of Regular Updates**: Health conditions and medications can change over time. Drivers should be encouraged to update their health declaration forms regularly, especially after any significant changes in their health status. I would recommend at least every 12 months OR if a driver or the Company become aware of any significant changes.
- **Misunderstanding Legal Obligations**: Drivers must understand the legal implications of their declarations. Misreporting or withholding information can lead to severe consequences, including legal action.
- **Overlooking Mental Health**: Mental health is as critical as physical health in determining driving fitness. Drivers often overlook this aspect due to stigma or lack of awareness. Educating drivers about the importance of mental health in relation to driving safety is crucial.
- **Assuming One Size Fits All**: Each driver’s health situation is unique. A standard form might not capture all necessary information for every individual. Tailoring questions to address broader health issues can be more effective.
In conclusion, Health Declaration Forms are more than just bureaucratic paperwork; they are a fundamental part of ensuring road safety. As professionals guiding drivers, it’s our duty to emphasise the importance of these forms, ensuring they are filled out meticulously, updated regularly and reviewed and more importantly actioned by management. The road to safety begins with transparency and honesty about one’s health and its impact on driving capabilities.