According to the law, HGV drivers need to be in reasonably good health for them to operate heavy goods vehicles on public roads, especially to have a category c licence. That simply implies that every new driver needs to undergo a heavy goods vehicle medical exam and the physician who does the examination needs to submit the paperwork (D4) to the DVLA. Drivers need to take a new medical exam when renewing their license and it does not matter whether they want to drive a bus or a lorry.
So, what does the HGV medical exam entail?
Well, the driver’s medical consists of two parts:
The first is an interview where the candidate and the physician discuss any existing health conditions that may lead to unsafe driving. At this stage, the medical history is ideally discussed.
The second part is the actual physical examination where the practitioner checks the driver’s crucial signs, vision and much more. However, the examination does not take any more than half an hour. During the medical, the physician fills out a DVLA form, which they later submit to the authorities.
Who can perform the HGV driver/s exam?
It is important to note that there are no special qualifications for performing this exam. So, any doctor registered in the United Kingdom can be used. This gives you the flexibility of going to either an NHS GP or a private doctor.
How Fit Should You Be?
Well, in the HGV exam, the doctor will be examining some very specific things. If you are in reasonably good health, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you are suffering from some severe condition, chances are you will not be approved for professional driving.
Here are some of the things that a doctor is required to check during the heavy goods vehicle exam.
1. Mental Health
Obviously, you need to be in good mental health to drive commercial vehicles. The physician will discuss all kinds of mental health issues like cognitive impairment, dementia, depression, and much more.
Eyesight requirement is stricter for HGV drivers than it is for regular drivers. You’ll need to be able to see clearly with each eye, with or without corrective lenses. However, you can still be eligible to drive professionally if you don’t have the adequate vision in one eye, given that you pass the vision test.
3. Neurological Issues
These can have severe repercussions to any driver and so, it is important that the doctor examines you and asks questions that relate to blackouts, seizures, memory issues, epilepsy and more.
If you have diabetes, it won’t automatically disqualify you from becoming a heavy vehicle goods driver, but the condition needs to be well-managed for you to proceed.
5. Alcohol and Drugs
It is illegal to drive any car in the UK while intoxicated or drunk. With that in mind, it’s almost impossible to hold a professional driving job if you’re a chronic drug and alcohol user. During the exam, the physician will search for any signs of chronic alcohol and drug use.
6. Sleeping Disorders
One of the leading causes of accidents among commercial drivers is sleep deprivation. As such, the medical requires that the doctor looks for any signs and symptoms of sleeping disorders. Keep in mind that a sleep disorder does not really mean instant disqualification, but the condition needs to be properly managed for you to proceed.
7. Heart Problems
Even the least heart issue can lead to severe problems in the future. As such, the physician needs to check for any potential heart problems like peripheral arterial disease, murmurs, aneurysms, etc.
These are the common issues that the doctors are required to check by the DVLA. There’s no reason to panic. The exam is relatively short and if you are in good health, you’ll certainly get approved.