Sunday 26 May 2019

New guidelines to allow mini-stroke sufferers back on the road in one week following recovery

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Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

New driving guidelines will allow survivors of mini-stroke back on the road in one week if they've recovered properly and have been assessed.

This relates to Grade One drivers - motorists and motorcyclists - who have suffered a Transient Ischaemic Attack or mini-stroke. 

The former cessation period was four weeks but with the publication of the 2019 Sláinte agus Tiomáint Medical Fitness to Drive Guidelines, the four weeks have been reduced to one week. 

This decision is based on current clinical evidence from the North Dublin Stroke Study. 

The new leaflet from the RSA in conjunction with the National Office for Traffic Medicine at the RCPI also gives Grade One and Grade Two license-holders general advice for driving with medical conditions. 

Even something like the flu can leave drivers feeling weak and potentially unable to take the wheel.

As being sick can lead to people not being able to drive, the guidelines are aiming to promote safety and a return to mobility rather than leaving people feeling isolated as they are no longer allowed to drive. 

Director of Driving Training and Licensing at the RSA Declan Naughton pointed out that GPs can also make provisions to allow people to travel to mass or the local shop, as walking on narrow country roads may be dangerous. 

“A GP could say you can only drive within a certain radius or on roads less than 80 miles an hour or during daylight hours. That gives someone the chance to manage their driving, iot’s not a thing where you either can or cannot drive,” he said. 

“Your GP will know about those things.” 

Honesty with GPs, insurers and the National Driver License Service about your health was also encouraged. 

“If somebody looks at the guidelines they will see situations where they should inform their GP or their insurer – generally if there is any issue that could impact your driving you should tell your insurer,” said Mr Naughton.

Prof Desmond O'Neill, National Programme Director for Traffic Medicine at RCPI has also welcomed the new leaflet saying it will help drivers make informed decisions about their driving and to help them stay safe on the roads. 

He said it will also aid GPs and health professionals to discuss with their patients’ medical fitness to drive.

It was also highlighted at the launch that it is important to inform your insurer and the National Driver License Service about your condition. 

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