Having diabetes does not mean that you need to give up driving. But it does mean that you need to plan in advance before you get behind the wheel. This information can help you ensure that your driving is safe and hazard-free.
If you require further information, please see the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website (or the DVA in Northern Ireland), or call our Careline.
Diabetes UK has been campaigning for many years to ensure that you will be able to continue driving safely and without any unnecessary restrictions to your freedom to drive.
There are two groups of licence holders and the medical standards differ according to
- Group 1 includes motorcars and motorcycles.
- Group 2 includes lorries and buses (categories C1, C1E, D1, D1E, C, CE, D and DE).
Group 2 licences
From 15 November 2011, the DVLA have now removed the ban for people on insulin driving Group 2 vehicles (larger vehicles, and some passenger-carrying vehicles) and people can now undergo individual medical assessment to assess their fitness to drive these vehicles. For more information visit the page about Group 2 licences.
In Northern Ireland, the blanket ban on driving taxis for people treated with insulin will be lifted by Summer 2012. Changes to allow people treated with insulin to drive other Group 2 vehicles (lorries and buses) are likely to be introduced later this year.
Group 1 licences
There have also been recent changes which affect the assessment criteria for people applying for a licence to drive cars and motorbikes (Group 1 vehicles).
These changes have resulted in a large increase in licences being revoked amongst people with diabetes who are treated with insulin (although this is still a small percentage of those who apply for renewal of their licence).
What you can do
If your diabetes is treated with insulin or other medication that can cause hypoglycaemia, you should take all the recommended precautions when you drive to ensure that you are safe – see our information on hypoglycaemia.
It is a good idea to note down the date of any severe hypoglycaemia event – defined as "requiring the assistance of another person" – and to inform your consultant or GP and ensure that they record this too.