After years of campaigning,we are delighted to announce that the Department for Transport has changed the law around driving and diabetes which will mean fewer people with diabetes will lose their licence unnecessarily.
The changes, which will be introduced from Monday, 1 January 2018, mean that only people who have severe hypoglycaemia episodes while they are awake could lose their driving licence. Currently, the law states that people with diabetes can lose their driving licence if they have had two or more severe hypo attacks in a year, even if they are asleep when one of the episodes take place.
The new regulations will also mean that people who lose their licence after having severe episodes of hypoglycaemia will be able to renew their licence within three months of their last episode. Previously, people could wait up to two years to be able to reapply.
A severe hypoglycaemia attack (more commonly known as a hypo) is when someone with diabetes has low blood glucose levels that requires assistance from another person to treat. Some of the symptoms of a severe episode can include confusion and disorientation, loss of consciousness and coma.
This change in law follows years of campaigning by us which led the DVLA to seek an amendment to the EU Directive of 2006. In 2011, we responded to the consultation on implementing the EU Directive and made clear that it was not fair for someone to lose their driving licence if they had a hypoglycaemia attack at night, as there was no evidence to support this.
Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “We are over the moon that after years of campaigning, the DVLA and EU agree it is unfair for people with diabetes to lose their licence for severe hypoglycaemia episodes at night whilst they are asleep.
“Not being able to drive impacts on people’s ability to get to work and take a full part in family and community life, especially in rural areas, so we hope these new changes will prevent people from losing their licence needlessly, and will help people with diabetes get safely back on the roads quicker if they do lose their licence.”
The regulations are also updated to take into consideration CGM and Flash GM technology, however we do not know when new guidance on testing blood glucose levels will be issued. Current advice is that people should continue to test with a blood glucose meter before driving.
Please go to our driving campaign page for more information.