Over the past few years, we’ve talked a lot about the process of getting your Driver CPC. It’s not exactly a short process, and there are a lot of steps involved in achieving it. Just one of those things is passing a medical exam, to make sure you’re healthy and fit enough to be in charge of a large, heavy vehicle. In this post, we wanted to take a closer look at the medical exam, what’s actually involved in it and what sort of things you need to be aware of going into it. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
No one likes to think about having heart problems, or how it could affect your work. The good news is that a heart condition isn’t an automatic ban. But it’s still something you need to be aware of, and make the examiner aware of. Anything from angina to atrial fibrillation and even blackouts. However, there are a few exceptions – for example, you can’t drive at all (let alone professionally) for 3 months after having heart bypass surgery, or within 12 months of a stroke or period of unexplained unconsciousness.
Epilepsy is something that affects 1 in 26 people in the world – but that doesn’t mean that 1 in 26 people can’t be HGV drivers. Just like a standard driving license, you will only be allowed to drive if you have had at least 5 years without a seizure or episode and if you’ve had those 5 years without using any medication to control it. Whether you’re experiencing minor auras or full seizures, epilepsy is a severe illness that makes it impossible for you to drive professionally, or at all.
If there’s one thing that’s important for an HGV driver, it’s our ability to see. Without good eyesight, you wouldn’t be safe on the road, and you wouldn’t be able to find your way to your delivery points! Thankfully the guidance on what is acceptable eyesight is pretty clear – and it’s the same as a traditional driving licence. You have to be able to read a licence plate from 20 yards away. It doesn’t matter if you need glasses or contacts to achieve this either – but your prescription can’t be higher than +8, and your field of vision needs to be higher than 160 degrees. As long as you fall inside those parameters, you’re ok. And if you’re not sure, just ask your optician.
Diabetes is a very common illness and affects around 9.5% of the population, so it’s not something that’s going to stop you from becoming an HGV driver by any means. All you have to do is demonstrate that you can keep it under control. This usually means you will need to record twice-daily glucose testing, and in if you have insulin-treated diabetes you’ll need your most recent 3 months of glucose readings stored on a personal meter, ready to produce on request.
Tiredness kills. It’s all over billboards, TV adverts and taught over and over in driver training. That’s why we train our drivers to manage their schedules to avoid getting too tired. But if you have medical conditions that affect your sleeping patterns, ability to sleep or cause you to fall asleep suddenly, they could cause problems. Narcolepsy and sleep apnoea are the biggest culprits, but the medication that causes drowsiness can be an issue too. They might not be a deal breaker – but they will need to be investigated further.
Brain issues are where the medical issues go from ‘grey area’ to ‘very black and white’. Any issues with your brain are likely to cause problems with your judgement, critical thinking, reaction speeds and cognition skills – all of which are pretty important for an HGV driver. If you’ve had brain surgery or a brain injury, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to drive professionally at any point now or in the future. Of course, each case is unique, but in most cases any kind of brain trauma, injury or surgery will rule you out at a medical stage.
The medical exam for HGV drivers will look at many other things, but these are some of the major categories that our drivers worry about before they go into the medical. The important thing to remember is this – none of these things, or any other condition, mean that you have an automatic ban on driving HGV’s. It simply means that you need to fall within a set of rules designed to keep drivers, other road users and cargo safe. You don’t have to be in peak physical condition – just reasonably healthy and safe behind the wheel. To find out more about what the medical exams entail, just get in touch with the team today.
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