Mini-stroke victims may now resume driving cars after one week

New advice from road safety authorities is dependent on drivers making full recovery

The RSA has released an advice update for  drivers on health problems and their driving

The RSA has released an advice update for drivers on health problems and their driving

 

The length of time stroke victims should abstain from driving has been reduced to one week provided drivers make a satisfactory recovery, according to new advice published on Thursday.

The update to road safety advice for drivers on the impact of health problems on their driving is being unveiled by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and National Office for Traffic Medicine.

The latest advice says driving after a Transcient Ischaemic Attack or mini-stroke should be permissible after one week, based on current clinical evidence from the North Dublin Stroke Study.

The advice previously was the period of stopping driving was four weeks. The new advice applies to drivers of licence categories A, A1, A2, AM, B, BE, or W , which covers motorcycles, cars and tractors with or without trailer.

It does not apply Categories C, CE, C1, C1E, D, DE, D1 or D1E – which covers trucks and buses .

A new leaflet – Your Health and Driving – is the latest in a suite of leaflets that have been developed by the RSA to provide information and support for drivers with medical conditions.

Previous leaflets provided information about driving with epilepsy, sleep apnoea, cardiac conditions, alcohol problems and short-term illnesses/injuries.

The new leaflet aims to raise awareness about how health can affect driving more generally and to promote safe mobility for drivers with medical conditions.

Prof Desmond O’Neill, national programme director for traffic medicine at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said the new resource would help drivers make decisions about their driving and to stay safe on the road, while also aiding GPs, occupational and public health professionals start a conversation with patients about medical fitness to drive.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Prof O’Neill said Ireland was the first country in the world to place personal responsibility on fitness to drive.

“This issue does not affect just older people, it is across the life span and includes conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, sleep apnea, people on medication and alcohol addiction.”

He said there are sub sections for specific conditions – such as diabetes, with advice on how to monitor and control blood sugar levels.

“There are also guidelines in relation to dementia - when it is time to cease driving. It’s about managing conditions and avoiding getting into trouble with the law,” Prof O’Neill said.