HGV Medical - How Fit Do You Need To Be?

19th September 2018

Content updated February 2022

According to the law, HGV drivers must be deemed ‘fit and healthy’ to drive heavy good vehicles on and around British roads. This is determined by a HGV medical examination, otherwise known as a D4 medical drivers form. A HGV medical exam is made up of two parts; an interview about your physical health and your mental health with a physical examination, and a look at your medical history. You will also be required to provide your completed D4 HGV medical form. These requirements are essential for any HGV driving job.

A HGV Medical exam is standard for all HGV, LGV, PCV, Taxi, and Ambulance drivers. The physician who conducts your HGV medical exam will be looking at very specific requirements in regards to your health to ensure that you are fit to drive these types of vehicles, especially for long periods of time.

How fit do you need to be to pass an HGV medical test? Before you attend your HGV medical, there are a few things you will want to know in order to prepare to ensure you meet the  DVLA HGV medical requirements.

HGV Medical Tests Requirements:

When it comes to getting your HGV driving licence, you will need to be aware of the components that make up an HGV medical exam. If you already have your HGV licence but are coming up to your 5 years HGV medical renewal, you will need to also undertake another HGV medical test to ensure that you are still fit to drive an HGV. To ensure that you are fit to drive commercially on British roads, an HGV medical should determine whether you are in reasonably good health enough to do so. A standard DVLA HGV medical exam includes:

HGV Medical Eye Test:

Whilst there are strict sight regulations in place for regular drivers on the roads, these are even more stringent as an HGV driver. As part of the HGV medical eye test, you’ll have each eye tested individually, with and without your glasses or contact lenses. As well as testing your general eyesight, the doctor or optician will look at your total field vision, as doing so helps to gain a much fuller picture of your eyesight capabilities.

There’s nothing to say that if you’ve lost vision in one eye you aren’t eligible to drive a commercial vehicle, it’ll all depend on the results of your vision test. The HGV eyesight requirements are at least 0.8 (6/7.5) measured on the Snellen scale in your best eye, and at least 0.1 (6/60) on the Snellen scale in the other eye (gov.uk).

Neurological Problems:

As part of your HGV medical examination, the doctor will need to know any neurological problems you are facing, or have faced in the past. These can have serious consequences as a driver and provide cause for concern for other road users. For this part of the HGV medical test, the doctor will examine you, and ask questions related to some of the following DVLA neurological conditions and problems:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Epilepsy
  • Transient loss of consciousness, otherwise known as blackouts
  • Narcolepsy & sleep disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease, essentially any neurologic disorder which may affect sufficient vehicle control
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Unprovoked episodes of dizziness
  • Strokes
  • Acute encephalitic illnesses which are associated with seizures
  • Brain tumours
  • Prior brain surgery
  • Memory problems
  • Or any other chronic neurological condition

Find a full guide on advice for drivers on neurological disorders here.

HGV Medical Mental Health:

As an HGV driver, it is not only important that you’re physically fit to drive, but also mentally fit. A study carried out by mental health charity MIND showed that upwards of 30% of self-reported work-related illnesses in the transport and logistics industry can be attributed due to stress, depression and anxiety. The effects of loneliness, long and unsociable working hours and working nights all have an impact on a person’s mental state, even if they believe they have good mental health.

As part of your examination, you will be asked various questions about your mental health; the doctor will address mental health issues such as depression and anxiety as well as any other psychiatric issues you may have faced. During this stage, it is important you are completely honest and transparent about your mental health issues so that your assessment is fully comprehensive. For any concerns regarding mental health and wellbeing, always consult a professional.

Insulin Treated Diabetes (HGV Medical Examination):

If you are a diabetes sufferer and require insulin in order to control this, it’ll be important your doctor knows about this during your HGV medical examination. Certain processes will need to be put in place on the job in order to manage this safely and appropriately as an HGV driver.

As part of your medical assessment, a doctor will have to look into your history with diabetes and the effects it may have on your HGV driving. Serious accidents can be caused when existing medical conditions such as these are overlooked and should be disclosed during your medical test.

Heart Conditions:

As part of your HGV medical exam, your doctor will test for any potential heart conditions you might face. Blood pressure is something that also needs to be tested and considered as part of your HGV medical. The current DVLA HGV medical blood pressure limit is 179/99. This means that if you have systolic blood pressure over 180 consistently, or diastolic blood pressure over 100, then you are unfit to drive an HGV and will fail your HGV medical. If you currently have/previously have had any of these conditions, you should also disclose them:

  • Heart attack or heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Coronary bypass surgery
  • Pacemaker implant
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator

Whilst it’s important to identify and address these regardless of your occupation, it is key as an HGV driver. That being said, if you are aware of any changes in your health in regards to your heart, you must disclose this to the doctor.

HGV Drugs Test:

It is against the law to operate a HGV under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. During your assessments, the doctor will look for any signs of alcoholism or drug abuse as part of your HGV medical drug test

It is important to note that if you are an alcoholic, or have recorded current drug abuse, it is hughly unlikely that you will pass your HGV medical exam, and prevent you from obtaining your HGV drivers licence.

Book an HGV Medical Exam

New and existing lorry drivers are required to take an HGV medical every 5 years, in line with their HGV licence renewal. Here at David Barber Occupational Health, we offer HGV drivers a comprehensive HGV medical test in line with government/DVLA regulations. Whether you are a new HGV driver or returning HGV driver, we will ensure your test is fully completed to accompany your HGV driving licence. You can also find out more about the HGV D4 form on our website.

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