NEW rules have been announced affecting motorists with eye problems and epilepsy.
Motorists in Ashbourne who may have been prevented from driving under former rules can now check if they will be able to re-new their licence under the new relaxed rules.
The changes, which come into force from March 8, mean that there will be some changes for drivers and riders with epilepsy and to the vision standards required for driving.
Road Safety Minister, Stephen Hammond said: “Road safety is a top priority for the Government and our licensing rules play an important part in keeping our roads safe. “We must make sure that only those who are safe to drive do so, while at the same time avoiding placing unnecessary restrictions on people’s independence.
“These changes strike the right balance in allowing as many people as possible to drive, without compromising safety.”
The changes follow a recent public consultation that sought views on the implementation of European minimum medical standards for drivers.
While UK standards must be at least at the level of a minimum standard, the UK is not required to relax existing domestic standards where these are justifiably higher than the EU ones.
In most cases, the UK rules were already at or above the level of the EU minimum standards, although UK legislation has been clarified in respect of a number of standards which were previously specified in guidance to doctors.
The main changes are:
Group 2 – Buses and Lorries: For these drivers, there will be a new relaxed visual acuity standard for the “weaker eye” when each eye is separately examined. Generally eyesight can be weaker in one eye than the other.
Group 1 – Cars and Motorcycles: For the first time, drivers who have only ever suffered seizures while asleep may now be considered for a licence after one year, instead of the current requirement of three years.
Additionally, the new rules will allow drivers who have only ever suffered seizures that have no impact on consciousness or the ability to act to apply for a driving licence one year from the date of their first seizure. Currently these drivers can only be licensed if they are free from these seizures for a period of 12 months.