Dubai: Professional drivers in Dubai may soon need to pass medical fitness tests, to be allowed to continue in their job, traffic authorities have said.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working with the Dubai Health Authority on a proposal to make it mandatory for professional drivers to obtain a medical fitness certificate in order to obtain a driving permit.

The Ministry of Interior recently endorsed a policy that mandates that all professional drivers will need to have driving permits, in addition to their driving licences.

"Driving permits are solely aimed for professional drivers such as taxi drivers, bus drivers, heavy vehicle drivers and school bus drivers. In addition to issuing these permits, as per Interior Ministry's instructions, RTA is considering the linking of the permits to medical fitness, this year," Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of the RTA's Licensing Agency, said.

UK model

"This means that drivers who have specific medical conditions, such as epilepsy or diabetes, which may undermine their driving skills, may not be allowed to work as professional drivers any more," he said.

The move is aimed at improving road safety by reducing the rate of health-related accidents, he said.

The policy will most likely be based on the model followed by the UK government.

Other aspects, such as whether the medical fitness test will be conducted annually or not, are also being discussed by the authorities.