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New action over EU rules on driving and diabetes welcomed

Diabetes UK welcomes a statement from Prime Minister, David Cameron, during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons that the DVLA is going back to the EU to check their understanding of the interpretation of the minimum standard of a new Directive on the issue of driving licences for people with diabetes.

The Directive (91/439/EEC) could mean that people with diabetes who report two ‘severe’ hypo episodes in a 12-month period may have their Group 1 licence revoked.

Open to misinterpretation

Diabetes UK has expressed concerns that this is open to misinterpretation as people can often experience hypos when asleep. In the past only hypoglycaemia occurring in waking hours was taken into consideration. The word 'severe' is also open to misinterpretation as many hypos can be quickly and easily treated with an appropriate snack.

"Unecessarily stringent"

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said, "This is good news and part of what we have been lobbying for. We have been saying for some time that we are concerned about the way the DVLA has interpreted the Directive and that we think it was unnecessarily stringent. The DVLA and the Minister for Transport have previously responded that their hands were tied by Europe, so this is a significant shift in their position.

"We will continue working with the DVLA to try and ensure the process for people with diabetes who are applying and re-applying for licences is fair, consistent, transparent and safe."

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