Their call comes after the Germanwings disaster in France and the Glasgow bin lorry carnage, both involving employees who hid vital information that would have kept them from the cockpit and driving seat respectively.
The Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) has told the Department of Transport and the Data Protection Commissioner its members want to be allowed “to directly access the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) to verify the accuracy and currency of driver licence details”.
Applications for driver licences or renewals require applicants to declare if they have ever been advised that they are unfit to drive and, if so, a medical practitioner must provide details and also verify that the applicant is now cleared to drive.
Employers are not privy to these background details, however, and can only check if an employee or prospective new recruit currently has a valid licence.
Freight and transport bosses also want medical practitioners to be required to formally report directly to the NDLS where they declare a professional driver unfit to drive.
The FTAI’s approaches to the authorities are revealed in the Lobbying Register in which it says its concerns are based on events abroad.
“Following the outcomes in the investigations into the Glasgow bin lorry crash and the Germanwings air crash, FTAI sought amendments to our privacy laws to permit qualified access to driver licensing and mobile worker medical records,” it says.
Suicidal pilot, Andreas Lubitz, killed 150 people when he deliberately crashed a plane into mountains in France in March last year and six people died in Glasgow in December 2014 when struck by a bin lorry driven by Harry Clarke who blacked out at the wheel. Both kept secret serious medical issues that would have kept them from working.