National Transport Commission

NTC to Ensure the Health of Aussie Drivers

National Transport CommissionThe National Transport Commission (NTC) is attempting to ensure the health of vehicle drivers and rail safety workers in Australia by reviewing the current medical standards that apply to these individuals.

The Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines and the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers are being reviewed by the NTC to help ensure that the individuals who use these networks are healthy and therefore aren’t causing a safety risk with the safety of the community being the ultimate goal.

With The Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines and the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers last having been reviewed in 2012, it is time for them to be reviewed again because circumstances, situations changes, new issues and patterns may emerge and they need to be assessed regularly.

The CEO of the NTC, Paul Retter explained the motivation behind the review, stating that it would help ensure the safety of our roads and railway systems by ensuring that people that use them are safe to do so. He went on to explain:

 “We regularly review the medical standards to make sure they are up to date with the latest medical evidence and reflect the needs of drivers and safety workers,” he said.

“This review will measure and analyse any risks that people with certain medical conditions might pose to the safety of our transport networks, but it will be a balanced approach that takes people’s transport needs into consideration.

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Once changes are implemented, Retter said the NTC would consult stakeholders next year to assess the impact of the standards and any changes that may be necessary by looking at the latest evidence. Retter explained the need for the review:

“We think the current guidelines are working well, but it pays to check that view against the latest evidence, particularly when community safety could be affected.”

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The article went on to explain that the NTC is currently in the tender process for interested parties to help conduct the review particularly consultants with expertise in the medical field who can assist in stakeholder liaison.

The NTC will ultimately be taking into account a number of issues relating to:

  • advances in medical knowledge & practice
  • changes to the driving or rail operating environments and policies
  • stakeholder feedback on the operation of the standards, including any problems faced by medical professionals currently doing the testing
  • findings from relevant recent inquiries
  • any other new issues affecting the medical standards