x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Medical exam for UAE taxi, bus, limo and HGV drivers

The Ministry of Interior is considering an annual medical check-up for motorists to ensure they are fit to drive, a senior ministry official told reporters on the sidelines of Gulf Traffic Week.

Taxi drivers are among those who could have to pass medical exams in order to be allowed to drive for a living. Silvia Razgova/The National
Taxi drivers are among those who could have to pass medical exams in order to be allowed to drive for a living. Silvia Razgova/The National

Motorists may soon need a yearly medical check-up to ensure they are fit to drive.

The move is being considered by the Ministry of Interior, an official said on the sidelines of Gulf Traffic Week, which began on Sunday.

Brig Gen Ghaith Al Zaabi, director general of traffic coordination at the ministry, said the scheme would be rolled out over the next three years and would initially apply to four professional categories: bus drivers, heavy vehicle drivers, taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

The project is part of a number of initiatives to boost safety on the roads, reported Al Ittihad, The National's Arabic-language sister paper, today.

"These drivers are on the road for long hours and the accidents in which they get involved are usually catastrophic and result in serious human losses," Brig Gen Al Zaabi said.

The ministry will coordinate with health authorities to set the medical standards that will determine whether a driver is fit. Those who fail the test will be banned from the road and their licences revoked.

Medical exams will help reduce the number of accidents, Brig Gen Al Zaabi said, and the number of road deaths will go down.

Other categories of drivers will follow at a later stage, he added.

"A regular driving licence has a 10-year validity and during that period a driver's health might undergo a lot of changes and become a cause for an accident," he said.

The ministry is coordinating with the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority to make fog lights mandatory on all vehicles.

"Too many vehicles don't have [fog lights] so we decided to look into making them a requirement," Brig Gen Al Zaabi said, noting low visibility was a recurring problem.

newsdesk@thenational.ae