Over 50% of driver’s license medical failures due to eyesight issues – NTMI

Over half the country’s driver’s license applicants who failed their medical examination in 2019 failed due to eyesight issues, National Transport Medical Institute (NTMI) statistics have revealed.

The NTMI reports that 55.35 per cent of applicants had failed their eyesight test in their medical examination.

Out of 872,769 medical examinations conducted up to now for the year, 101,596 driver’s license applicants failed, with the failure rate increasing from last year’s 11.40 per cent to 11.69 per cent.

Among other reasons for failing the medical exam, 13 per cent failed due to physical disabilities, seizures and mental illness, 2.49 per cent due to heart disease, 10.5 per cent due to high blood pressure, 25.35 per cent due to diabetes and 6.78 per cent due to other diseases.

Speaking to RepublicNext, NTMI Cheif Medical Officer Dr K S M Samarasekara said that the NTMI has also updated its medical guidelines for drivers so that more disabled people may obtain their driver’s license.

Dr Samarasekara said that these guidelines will vary across different types of disability, while vehicles that disabled persons are permitted to drive will also depend on their disability. Those with defects in one eye will be allowed to drive a light vehicle such as a car with a lens fixed to the bonnet along his or line of sight.

When it comes to physical disabilities such as defects in the right leg, an auto vehicle can be modified to shift the accelerator pad to the left.

By law, the license holder may only drive that modified vehicle, as its chassis and engine number will be included on his/her driver’s license.

Asked about how the diabetics patients fare in the medical examination, she said that since there are certain complications associated with diabetes such as failure of eyesight and problems in the nervous system, the maximum threshold of blood sugar in an applicant to be eligible for a driver’s license is 200 mg/DL.

“So as eyesight is important to driving, diabetic patients with such complications will fail. But minor diabetic conditions are ignored,” she added.

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