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Screening for drugs, alcohol, sight problems and health issues

A record number of lorry and bus drivers have lost their licences in the last year for health, sight and alcohol and drug reasons, the DVLA has revealed.

4,706 drivers were banned, up around 40 per cent on last year.

Drivers of larger vehicles, who have a Group 2 licence, and are aged over 45 have to pass a DVLA medical examination, which these drivers all failed. Group 2 licences are renewable thereafter every five years to age 65 years unless restricted to a shorter period for medical reasons. The medical standards for Group 2 are much higher than those for regular licences, because of the size and weight of the vehicle.

707 drivers suffered from sight problems, 10 had double vision and 31 could only see out of one eye.

261 were abusers of alcohol and 159 had drug problems.

More than 600 were angina sufferers, 173 had angina, and 227 had had a heart attack.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond told the Daily Express: “Britain’s roads are among some of the safest in the world and licensing rules have an important role in maintaining this.”

HGVs, large lorries or refuse collection vehicles are involved in two thirds of cyclist deaths in London. Cyclists involved in collisions with HGVs are 78 times more likely to be killed than those hit by a car, and the majority of these deaths happen after large vehicles turn across the cyclist’s path.

Tom Bogdanowicz, campaigns manager for the London Cycling Campaign, told the Telegraph at New Year:

"The data showing the far higher risk of serious injury in collisions with HGVs emphasises the urgent need for all lorry operators, especially councils, to provide specialised awareness training for drivers which is now available as part of the TfL Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS)”, he said.

“It is unacceptable that a third of London councils have still not joined FORS, the quality standard for lorry operators."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.