Initiative aims to ensure drivers are medically fit
The ‘No Worries’ initiative by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has contributed to cutting the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles by as much as 40%.
The initiative was launched by the RTA in 2013 with a number of public and private entities, in order to prevent heavy vehicle driver permits to be issued to medically unfit drivers. It has helped decrease the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles to 146 last year, from an anticipated 279.
“The No Worries initiative has contributed effectively to slashing heavy vehicle accidents rate (for trucks) which mostly occur due to health conditions, particularly amongst those suffering diabetes, hypertension, or other diseases,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s Licensing Agency.
The initiative mandates all truck, bus and taxi drivers to conduct annual medical examinations to verify that they are disease-free or they take appropriate treatment before being granted licenses to operate heavy vehicles, he noted.
“[Under] this initiative, 1221 drivers have been suspended either due to medical reasons or for failing to take medication properly and on schedule. The initiative has succeeded in treating 500 drivers with diabetes or high blood pressure, besides issuing 100,000 professional heavy vehicle driver permits.”
Service delivery outlets under the programme have been increased to 20 over the last two years. The RTA’s Licensing Agency has also adopted a drivers’ medical standard applicable in Dubai, in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority, Bahrozyan said. The process is in line with standards adopted by the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK.
The initiative will gradually be extended to cover other categories of drivers, such as cab drivers, Dubai Tram operators and public bus drivers. “This year, private chauffeurs will be subjected to medical examinations, and later on, the procedure will be generalized across the UAE,” Bahrozyan said.
The No Worries initiative is being carried out in cooperation with entities such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, Dubai Police, and Dubai Health Authority, in addition to nine private hospitals.