'Make motorists undergo health screening prior to renewing licence'

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Road Users Association (PPJK) has proposed for motorists to undergo a health screening before their driving licences are renewed.

This can be done through an integrated health screening system said PPJK chairman Mohammad Hisham Shafie.

He said age alone should not be a criterion in limiting driving license issuance, instead, the priority should be the driver's health.

"For instance, there are people well above the age of 70 who can drive with no issues, but some younger drivers themselves are suffering from health issues.

"The government should look at the health status of the driver and not merely the age," he said when contacted today.

This comes in the heel of the Federal Police's Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department call for driving licence issuance to senior citizens to be restricted.

Hisham added that the government could come up with health screening standard operating procedures (SOP) at government healthcare facilities before issuing driving licenses.

There should also be an online system where authorities from different departments may view the results of the health checks before the license is issued, he said.

According to him, the matter is doable, citing the example of the Computerised Vehicle Inspection Centre (Puspakom) can be viewed by Road Transport Department (RTD) before public service vehicle (PSV) licences and good driving licences (GDL) are issued.

"We have a system that works. Now it is time to expand it for other services.

"We agree that the government should come up with measures to limit certain drivers to minimise accidents, but let it be based on research and data.

"Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) can do that part and present its findings to the government.

"Then the officials from different ministries and departments, together with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can sit down together to come up with a solution," he said.

The police call for a driving licence to senior citizens to be restricted was to reduce accident rates on Malaysian roads, said Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department director Datuk Azisman Alias

He said the health condition of a motorist was one factor that contributed to accidents. Alzheimer's disease and eye problems are among the health issues faced by elderly motorists.

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