x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

RTA ponders compulsory health checks for taxi, bus and truck drivers

The RTA is considering a new ruling that would see professional drivers undergo medical check-ups before renewing their licences.

DUBAI // Professional drivers may have to undergo mandatory medical examinations to gain or renew their licences, according to the Roads and Transport Authority.

A study into the viability of the idea is being conducted by the RTA in co-operation with the Ministry of Interior and the Dubai Health Authority.

If the results of the study are positive, the RTA aims to make health certificates a requirement for the issuing of commercial drivers' licences.

"We're in the process of studying it and, as a starting point for our first stage, we have proposed targeting professional drivers," said Ahmed Bahrouzyan, the CEO of the licensing department at the RTA.

He said professional drivers included those who operate taxis, buses and lorries for a living. The category could also be extended to include commercial drivers hired by private companies.

The compulsory medical examination would be carried out to identify chronic conditions that could affect the operation of a vehicle.

Mr Bahrouzyan described the idea as a preventive safety measure to ensure no professional driver had an illness that could put the lives of his passengers at risk.

"If a driver is carrying 100 workers and has low blood sugar, it would definitely cause a problem," he said.

At a later stage, the health certificate may also be required for elderly drivers who want to renew their licence or apply for a new licence.

But Mr Bahrouzyan said the age at which a driver would be considered elderly had not been decided.

A date for implementation of mandatory health tests has not been set, but the RTA hopes to start by the end of this year.

There are no plans to ask drivers in other licence categories to undergo medical tests.

aalhaddad@thenational.ae