Forum: Public transport drivers undergo regular health checks

Cabby How Yuen Fah hit at least three pedestrians who were crossing the road at the junction of Jalan Bukit Merah and Alexandra Road on March 22.
Cabby How Yuen Fah hit at least three pedestrians who were crossing the road at the junction of Jalan Bukit Merah and Alexandra Road on March 22.PHOTO: STOMP

We thank Dr Oh Jen Jen for her feedback in the Forum page (Is health of public transport drivers vetted thoroughly?, Sept 30).

All vocational licence (VL) holders must undergo and pass their medical examinations before they are allowed to drive a public service vehicle.

The medical regimen, jointly developed by the Singapore Medical Association and the Ministry of Health, includes a vision test, blood pressure measurement and in the case of new applicants, a chest X-ray.

The frequency and scope of such medical checks increase with age.

All VL holders aged 50 to 64 are required to undergo a medical examination once every two years, while those aged 65 and above have to do so annually.

VL holders aged 70 to 75 are required to go for an additional assessment on their fitness to drive.

The assessment includes off-road and on-road tests, as well as tests on reaction time, vision, cognitive abilities and physical control of a vehicle.

However, the drivers also have a responsibility to declare any existing conditions.

VL holders with pre-existing health conditions or those undergoing treatment are required to provide a letter from their attending physicians or specialists to certify their fitness to drive a public service vehicle.

These medical examinations and assessments provide a general overview of the driver's health status.

When drivers feel unwell, they should be responsible and quickly seek medical attention.

They should also refrain from driving for their own safety, and that of the passengers and other road users.

Some taxi operators waive or reimburse the rental fee if taxi drivers produce documentation to prove that they are unfit for work.

Yeo Teck Guan

Senior Group Director, Public Transport

Land Transport Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2019, with the headline 'Public transport drivers undergo regular health checks'. Print Edition | Subscribe