Vocational drivers: Guidance for employees

In this guidance:


Standards for vocational drivers are higher than that for car drivers. The University of Exeter takes the view that whilst persons who hold ordinary driving licences may legally drive cars, vans and some minibuses, the University believes that such persons who drive as part of their job should demonstrate medical and physical fitness which is similar to that required for Light Goods Vehicle or Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) entitlement. It also applies stringent medical standards to staff who are required to drive the following vehicles:

  • Light vans
  • Other light load carrying vehicles
  • Small Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV’s), minibuses
  • Special purpose vehicles (SPV’s) such as tractors, land rovers, Heavy goods vehicles (HGV’s) and fork lift trucks.

Whilst the University of Exeter medical requirements are defined, most applicants/employees are found fit to drive for the University. If you have any doubts please discuss these with University Occupational Health staff. Details provided by the applicant/employee will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be restricted to the University Occupational Health staff.

There are some specific medical conditions which may prevent you from driving some or all University vehicles as follows:


The DVLA Guide to the current Medical Standards of fitness to drive, (February 2005) states that:

“During the period of 10 years immediately preceding the date when the licence is granted, the applicant/licence holder should:

a) be free from epileptic attack
b) not have required anticonvulsant medication to treat epilepsy in that time
c) not otherwise be a source of danger whist driving.”

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New applicants or existing drivers on insulin are banned in law from driving HGV or PCV vehicles from 1 April 1991. Drivers licensed before 1 April 1999 on insulin are dealt with individually and licensed subject to satisfactory consultant assessment.

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Poor eyesight

All University vocational drivers must be able to read, in good daylight, a number plate at 20.5 metres (67 ft). You must also have a normal field of vision in both eyes and you must not be suffering from double vision. If glasses or contact lenses are required to do so, these must be worn whilst driving.

Your eyesight will be tested at the University Occupational Health Unit, and if you fail to meet the prescribed standards, you will be prevented from driving passengers as part of your work at the University of Exeter. New applicants are barred by law if the visual acuity using corrective lenses, if necessary, is below the prescribed visual acuity.

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Other medical conditions

There are several cardiac conditions which may prevent you from obtaining a vocational licence under existing UK law. The same requirements will apply in the case of drivers of University small passenger carrying vehicles. Therefore, it may be advisable to consult your General Practitioner to discuss the precise details of the current guidelines. The University Occupational Health Unit is also available to discuss these matters with you.

Certain neurological conditions including stroke, unexplained loss of consciousness, Menieres Disease, disabling vertigo, the effects of a severe head injury or brain surgery, may also bar an applicant/employee. Alcohol dependency, illicit drug dependency or substantial psychiatric illness (as defined in the DVLA guidelines on fitness to drive), in the previous 3 years will also prevent an individual from vocational driving.

Any other serious medical or surgical condition which might affect road safety may be a cause for an applicant/employee to be prevented from driving University light goods, light load carrying vehicles, or small PCV’s.

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Driving competency

All vocational drivers will be required to undergo an assessment of their driving competence before they are able to drive university-owned vehicles. This will be carried out by the Transport Manager, Campus Services or a designated person.

It is the aim of the university for all university vocational drivers including occasional vocational drivers who may drive university –owned vehicles to attend an induction programme on the Campus Transport Policy and safe driving practices before using university vehicles. This programme will be undertaken by the Transport manager, Campus, or a designated person.

Specific training will be offered by individual schools or departments to those driving passenger carrying vehicles (PCV), fork lift trucks or heavy goods vehicles(HGV)
See also the Minibus guidance.

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Procedure for new applicants for University jobs and existing employees applying for new jobs:

  1. You must complete and return the forms according to the instructions included with your interview invitation letter.
  2. If you are offered an interview, you will be asked to undergo a practical test to assess your driving competence. This will be carried out by the Transport Manager, Campus or another designated person. Where possible, this will be carried out on the same day as your interview.
  3. If you are successful in your interview and competency test and offered the job you will not be able to commence work until the University’s Occupational Health staff have confirmed to Human Resources that you meet all the appropriate medical requirements. If the medical clearance is still pending, it will state “to commence as soon as medical clearance has been received.” Once this clearance is received, you will be contacted concerning the start date.
  4. You will be required to produce your driving licence for your line manager on your first day so that it may be copied for the records. You will not be allowed to commence driving duties until this has been done.
  5. If the Occupational Health Advisor does not declare you as fit for the post then an HR Business Partner will contact you and you will be referred to the Occupational Health Physician.
  6. You must notify your line manager if you lose your licence or if circumstances legally affect your ability to drive.

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