Taking the HGV Medical Exam? What You Need to Know

To operate commercial vehicles on public roads legally, HGV drivers are by law required to be in reasonably good health. All aspiring drivers must, to this end, undergo a Heavy Goods Vehicle medical that is to be accompanied by D4 (paperwork) to be handed in by the physician who performed the exam to the DVLA. Every time a driver’s license is up for renewal, the holder is also required to undergo a fresh medical assessment. Regardless of whether you intend to drive a bus or lorry, the same exam performed.

What Constitutes An HGV Medical Exam?

There are two main components in an HGV medical exam:

In addition to discussing the candidate’s medical history, the candidate and physician also cover existing conditions that may affect their ability to drive safely, in the first part of the exam.

The candidate’s vision, vital signs etc. are all checked by the physician during the second part of the exam which involves an actual physical examination. It takes less than half an hour to complete the entire exam. The actual DVLA form to be submitted to the authorities is completed by the attending doctor (who is also expected to hand it into the authorities) during this assessment.

Who Is Mandated to Conduct the HGV Medical Exam?

When it comes to administering the HGV medical exam, the law does not set out any special qualifications. Candidates are free to use any UK registered doctor. As such, a private doctor in your locality or your NHS general practitioner will do just fine.

Acceptable Fitness Levels

The focus of the doctor administering the HGV medical will be quite specific. You should, however, not have any issues provided that you are in reasonably good health.

“You may be disqualified from professionally driving commercial vehicles if you are found to have specific existing health conditions,” says an instructor at Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training.

During the HGV medical examination, the physician is required by law to check the following:

  • Vision: To begin with, HGV drivers are subjected to stricter requirements than regular car drivers are when it comes to eyesight. With or without corrective lenses, candidates are required to see adequately through each individual eye. If you can pass the vision test, however, your eligibility for professional driving still exists.
  • Neurological Concerns: These issues can severely affect any driver. The doctor will ask questions regarding neurological issues such as blackouts, epilepsy, seizures and memory issues among others, in addition to examining the candidate.
  • Mental Wellbeing: All HGV drivers must be in good mental health according to the requirements of the law. Issues related to the candidate’s mental health including hospital stays due to psychiatric problems, depression, cognitive impairment and dementia among others, would be discussed with the doctor administering the exam.
  • Drug And Alcohol Use: If you have drugs or alcohol in your system, it is illegal to operate an HGV. As such, an alcoholic or chronic drug user will find holding down an HGV job to be quite a challenge. The physician conducting the assessment will investigate any signs of chronic alcohol and/or drug use.
  • Presence of Diabetes: Candidates who control their diabetes with regular insulin shots pose a concern. In order to proceed, the candidate’s diabetes must be under control, since it does not automatically disqualify them from becoming professional drivers
  • Your Heart Health: In future, serious problems can be by caused by the most benign heart conditions. Physicians, therefore, check for aneurysms, PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) and murmurs among others when examining candidates.
  • Sleep-Related Issues: Considered the leading cause of serious accidents among HGV drivers is lack of sleep. Symptoms of sleep-related disorders are one of the main areas of focus during HGV medicals. The candidate should be able to proceed if the disorder is properly managed since its existence does not amount to an automatic disqualification.

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