We need better medical standards

Australia’s transport ministers should use their next meeting to reject the findings of the 2021 review of the truck driver medical standards, ATA Chair David Smith said this week.

Mr Smith said the medical standards were not fit for purpose.

“Most importantly, the standards do not deal properly with sleep apnoea, a condition that can cause people to fall asleep while driving,” Mr Smith said.

“I know of two fatal crashes since 2010 that could have been prevented if the standards had better sleep apnoea screening. Better screening would have also prevented an untold number of crashes involving injuries or vehicle damage.

“When they meet on 15 December, ministers should require the National Transport Commission to do the review again and amend the truck driver standards to include objective screening tests for sleep apnoea, diabetes and cardiac risk level.

“All truck drivers should be required as a licensing condition to have regular medicals against the improved version of the standards,” he said.

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