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New European Commission directive affecting drivers with diabetes

The European Commission (EC) has passed a directive which could introduce individual assessments for people with insulin-treated diabetes to hold Group 2 driving licences.

These licences cover large goods vehicles (LGVs) and vehicles carrying more than six passengers. 

Current blanket ban

The UK currently has a blanket ban on all insulin-treated drivers of Group 2 vehicles, except for Category 1 (C1) licence holders. Therefore any EC legislation that allows for individual assessment for this group will be an improvement on the current restrictions.

New directive

This directive must be complied with by all European member states within a year and provides criteria for those on medication, as well as covering those who have had no severe hypoglycaemic events in the previous 12 months. It states: "In these cases, such licences should be issued subject to the opinion of a competent medical authority and to regular medical review, undertaken at intervals of not more than three years."

Welcomed by Diabetes UK

Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said: “We welcome this directive to allow for individual assessment for all Group 2 licences, as this should allow drivers to be recognised for good control and should offer the equality of continuing employment-related driving.

Current restrictions still in place

“As this directive must be complied with by all European member states within a year, we await a formal response from both the DVLA and DVLNI as to how it will be implemented across the UK. Until then, the current restrictions are still in place and must be complied with.”

Current legislation

Current legislation in the UK covers Group 1 and Group 2 licences. Insulin-treated drivers will be issued with a Group 1 licence for one, two or three years, with medical certification checks each time. People treated with insulin are not allowed to hold Group 2 licences, other than C1. If anyone begins using insulin, they must inform the DVLA/DVLNI and stop driving the vehicle immediately.

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