MOBILITY AND TRANSPORT
European Road Safety Charter
Good Practice

Increasing awareness of medical fitness to drive among healthcare professionals and the public

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Increasing awareness of medical fitness to drive among healthcare professionals and the public

Organisation details

National Office for Traffic Medicine
School / Research center
Contact name 
Prof Desmond O'Neill
Telephone number 
+353868260414
Please describe the main road safety challenges/problems you have addressed or are addressing. 
There is increasing awareness that medical fitness to drive - the impact of many medical conditions on fitness to drive - is a neglected aspect of road safety, particularly as there is evidence that appropriate medical advice can reduce crashes (1). We have shown in this project that medical fitness to drive is neglected in medical training (2) and also in a ground-breaking study that the general population show impaired awareness of medical fitness to drive (3). Our project aims to rectify this with wide-ranging activities to improve awareness among healthcare professionals and the general population, working with the Irish Road Safety Authority and the National Driving Licence Service. 1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMsa1114310 2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4997/jrcpe.2020.322 3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15389588.2020.1766684

Project activities

If you work together with external partners, list the most important partners and briefly describe their role. 
Irish Road Safety Authority and the National Driving Licence Service - not only funding this work pro-actively but also working in tandem on the research projects CIECA, the International Consortium on Driver Testing - supporting the review on European Union Directives on medical fitness to drive
Please describe the project activities you carried/are carrying out and the time period over which these were implemented. 
1. Development of high-quality guidelines for healthcare professionals, updated with literature review annually https://rcpi-live-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/NDLS-Sla%CC%81inte-Tioma%CC%81int-2022-WEB-002.pdf 2. Development of a portfolio of leaflets for the general public on a wide range of medical conditions - alcohol use disorder, dementia, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, etc - and how to manage their driving optimally in terms of safety and mobility https://www.ndls.ie/medical-fitness/health-and-driving-information-leaflets.html 3. Promoting these leaflets and knowledge at major public events with information stands at major public events such as agricultural shows. 4. Developing educational certificate programmes for healthcare professionals https://courses.rcpi.ie/product?catalog=Certificate-in-Traffic-Medicine and road safety professionals https://courses.rcpi.ie/product?catalog=Certificate-in-Road-Safety-Mobility-and-Health 5. Working with international partners through CIECA to advise European Commission on improvements to the medical fitness aspect of the Directives on driving licencing https://www.cieca.eu/news/1017 6. Working with researchers across three continents to update major review of evidence on medical fitness to drive https://www.monash.edu/muarc/archive/our-publications/reports/muarc300 - 3rd edition, 2022, due to be released June 2022 7. Promoting an essay competition on Traffic Medicine for healthcare students to raise awareness of medical fitness to drive https://www.rcpi.ie/traffic-medicine/mary-ward-essay-prize-for-traffic-medicine/
List the actions you carried/are carrying out 
Date 
Wednesday, 8 June, 2022

Evaluation

What has been the effect of the activities? 
There has been a significant improvement in awareness of medical fitness to drive among Irish family doctors, and an increase in their confidence in assessing medical fitness to drive (1). We also aim to re-assess the awareness of the general public following our campaigns, and to add a specific element on on alcohol use disorders. 1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15389588.2014.979408
Please briefly explain why your initiative is a good example of improving road safety. 
This combined programme is unique, not only in being based in a postgraduate medical college and involving over 30 medical and other healthcare disciplines in our working group, but also in aiming at improving awareness among healthcare professionals AND the general public
How have you shared information about your project and its results? 
We have a prominent communications strategy, including a Traffic Medicine eZine twice a year, eg, https://rcpi-live-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/National-Office-for-Traffic-Medicine-Newsletter-December-2021.pdf, frequent articles in public and professional press eg, https://www.medicalindependent.ie/in-the-news/news-features/traffic-medicine-moving-with-the-times/, as well as working closely with the Press Office of the Irish Road Safety Authority on our events and literature