Brake backs calls for changes to fitness to drive rules


Brake is calling for changes to the law, including increased penalties and prosecutions for drivers who fail to declare medical conditions, in the wake of the Glasgow bin lorry inquiry.

Driver Harry Clarke lost control of the lorry when he fainted due to a medical condition. The vehicle mounted a pavement, busy with pedestrians and Christmas shoppers, killing six people, including two grandparents and their granddaughter.

It later emerged Clarke had suffered a similar episode while driving in a previous job, but this had not been disclosed to his new employer, Glasgow City Council.

Brake is supporting a number of recommendations made at this week’s hearing by Sheriff John Beckett – they included:

  • Much greater awareness-raising by the DVLA to the medical profession of the dangers and implications of medical conditions for fitness-to-drive.
  • Stronger investigations by the DVLA when they are given information by a third party that someone may not be fit to drive.
  • The consideration of changes to the law, including increased penalties and prosecutions for drivers who fail to declare medical conditions.

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said: “We fully support the recommendations made by the Sheriff.

“We urge all drivers to ensure they fully disclose any medical condition that prevents them driving safely to the DVLA, or the DVA in Northern Ireland.

“We recently backed draft strengthened guidelines for doctors from the General Medical Council on reporting medically unfit drivers to the driver agencies, but it’s clear more action needs to be taken, some at Government level, to stop another tragedy like this from happening again.” 

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