Are you fit enough for a HGV Licence?

Here at Minx we often get asked questions about the HGV medical exam and about specific medical conditions that prohibit you from driving professionally.
The medical rules governing who can and cannot drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) are very strict and for good reason, as losing control of lorry weighing several tons is something that is likely to have lethal consequences.
So just how fit do you need to be to hold a HGV licence?

The guidelines on eyesight are quite clear, in that an HGV driver must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20 yards with or without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses.
Wearing glasses is fine, so long as your prescription is no higher than +8 and you must have a field of vision of at least 160 degrees. However, an eye condition that will definitely prevent you from retaining your driving licence, be it for a car or lorry, is double vision, which is not acceptable even when treated with an eye patch. If you’re not sure of your current visual health, it’s recommended that you visit your local optician to check.
Whether experiencing minor auras or full seizures, epilepsy is a condition that will preclude you from driving professionally. You’ll only be allowed to get behind the wheel if it’s been at least 5 years since your last seizure and that during that time you’ve not been taking any anti-seizure medications to control it. Again, if unsure, check with your GP or give us a call and we can arrange a quick HGV medical exam to see if you’re fit to drive an HGV.

Heart Issues
Any kind of heart issue that’s not being treated is going to be looked at unfavourably during a HGV medical exam, whether talking about angina, strokes or blackouts. You are prevented from driving within 3 months of a heart bypass operation and within 12 months of either a stroke or an unexplained period of unconsciousness.

With both type 1 and type 2, diabetes if you want to pass your HGV medical exam, you’ll need to demonstrate your ability to keep it under control. This will require twice daily glucose testing and in the case of insulin-treated diabetes, you’ll have to keep 3 months of glucose readings on a personal meter that has a memory function and be able to produce it when requested.

Brain Injury/Surgery
If you’ve had any sort of brain surgery or injury, the likelihood is that you’re not going to be able to drive again, as the chances of cognitive impairment are quite high. Of course, each case is different, but as a rule, in the interests of safety, brain trauma of any kind will prevent you from being a professional driver. The same applies to malignant conditions that are likely to spread to the brain mental issues, like psychosis. Again, if unsure, speak to your GP or consultant.

Sleep Disorders
It’s widely known that sleepiness is a major killer on the roads, so it stands to reason that anything that causes drowsiness is a major problem. Whether talking about sleep apnoea, narcolepsy or even medication for other conditions that cause sleepiness, you won’t be able to drive a lorry or private car.

This list illustrates that having a condition of any kind is not an automatic ban from professional driving.
The rules are fair and designed to ensure that anyone with a driving impairment of any kind and puts others on the road at risk, should not be allowed to get behind the wheel of a car or a heavy good vehicle.
You don’t have to be in perfect physical health, just reasonably healthy and safe behind the wheel. If you would like to know more about anything discussed here or about our extensive range of professional driver training please just get in touch.

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