Following a ministerial announcement earlier in July 2011, the DVLA intend to bring forward changes to the driving regulations affecting driving and diabetes from October this year.
This means that people with diabetes treated by insulin will be able to apply for a licence to drive Group 2 category vehicles (lorries and buses) if they meet certain criteria and undergo an annual independent medical assessment. They will also need to demonstrate adequate control of their diabetes by using a blood glucose meter with a memory function and record blood glucose levels for at least three months prior to submitting their application.
Simon O’Neill, Director of Care and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said, "Individual medical assessment is the only fair and rational way to judge a person’s fitness to drive. Diabetes UK believes that all people with diabetes have the right to drive if they can prove their medical fitness."
Further information can be found in thisletter from the DVLA(PDF, 77KB).
The changes are being introduced as a result of the implementation of an EC Directive. Diabetes UK is aware that these changes may also affect the assessment criteria for people applying for a licence to drive cars and motorbikes (Group 1 vehicles).
This could make it harder for some people who are treated by insulin (and some other medications) to get a licence or to have a licence renewed due to changing interpretations and assessment of "disabling hypoglycaemia" and "awareness of hypoglycaemia".
We are currently taking up our concerns about this with the DVLA and working with colleagues in other European countries to see how the Directive is being interpreted elsewhere. We are also seeking a meeting with the transport minister Mike Penning who talked about the importance of fairness and stressed the need for clarity around these issues when he announced the changes.