The DVLA has agreed to work with Diabetes UK and people with diabetes on rewriting driving licence application forms, following concerns that drivers with diabetes could lose their licence because of the impact of new rules.
Under the new European directive on driving, people with diabetes who report two 'severe' hypo episodes in a 12-month period may have their Group 1 licence revoked. We have expressed concern that the word 'severe' could be misunderstood, as many hypos can be quickly and easily treated by the person themselves with an appropriate snack.
Clarification of rules
After a top-level meeting with Transport Minister Mike Penning last month, a working group was set up to review the impact of the new rules. The Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young, and other representatives of the charity met with the DVLA for the first meeting this week.
As well as raising our concerns about what was meant by 'severe' hypoglycaemia, we provided guidance on how to improve the information given to people with diabetes and healthcare professionals about the driving licence application and renewal process.
The DVLA agreed to rewrite the forms to clarify how severe a hypo has to be before it needs to be declared, and set out a timetable for redrafting the guidance by the end of January. The DVLA also agreed to share monthly reports about how many people with diabetes are having their licences revoked.
Representing the interests of drivers with diabetes
Nikki Joule, Senior Policy Officer at Diabetes UK, said, "We are pleased to have the attention of the Transport Minister and the DVLA over concerns about new rules affecting drivers with diabetes.
"Now that we have raised our concerns at the highest level, we are delighted that changes will be made to the forms to ensure the process for drivers with diabetes who are applying and re-applying for licences is fair, consistent, transparent and safe. We will continue working with the DVLA to represent the interests of drivers with diabetes."