Many drivers have taken the car to work whilst feeling a little under the weather and usually this is acceptable. However, it seems that many motorists are getting behind the wheel when they are not medically fit.
Unfortunately, until now doctors and other health professionals have not been able to make that judgement in a standardized way. A book published by the Royal Society of Medicine has introduced new guidelines for doctors about what skills a driver needs and how to make sure that their patients are safe to get behind the wheel.
The guide has been written by the chief medical adviser to the Department of Transport, who called it an "essential tool" for health professionals. The book may also be useful to non-medical professionals concerned about driver safety such as fleet managers, insurers and road safety advisors.
An industry spokesperson said: "Sound advice on fitness to drive is based on an assessment of the driver's risk of crashing because of any health-related impairment."
"This book is crucial in helping health professionals understand their role and responsibilities under legislative requirements," he added.
In addition, the expert commented that motor vehicle accidents were a major cause of death and injury in Britain and health professionals had an "important contribution" to make in reducing this risk.