Last reviewed 20 April 2020

The last month has seen numerous changes made to the way transport operators work in order to try to deal with the impact of the coronavirus crisis (see “More COVID-19 changes for professional drivers”).

With a third of calls to its advice line from operators who have drivers who cannot drive, or soon will not be able to, because they cannot get a medical to support their licence renewal, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has been urging the Government to add driver medicals to the areas where it has relaxed the rules.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has clearly been listening as it has issued a notice confirming that the need for a D4 medical when renewing driving entitlements has been temporarily suspended.

“With NHS staff rightly focused on the nationwide response to COVID-19,” it explained, “the Government is taking action to protect essential supply chains by making temporary provisions for commercial drivers aged 45 and over, to forgo the need for a D4 medical in order to renew their driving entitlement.”

This change is, the DfT continues, temporary and will only apply where the driver does not have any existing notifiable health conditions, and their licence has not expired before 1 January 2020.

The licence will only be valid for one year instead of five and the driver will need to submit a completed D4 when the licence is due for renewal in 12 months.

D4 refers to the form concerning a medical examination report for a lorry or bus driving licence. It can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.

The DfT stresses that drivers will still be required to self-declare any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive. Those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed.

All drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive, it concludes.