Diabetes is a condition which impacts significantly on many aspects of a person’s life. Its effect on driving is often the most profound. This impact varies depending on the type of licence and as a result can cause major employment issues. All patients are issued a licence of 3 years or less.
There are two categories of licence. Group 1 – motor cars and motor cycles and Group 2 – large lorries and buses. Common to both groups are cautions about hypoglycaemia with insulin and sulphonylureas. The inability to recognise hypos or having >1 hypo requiring third party assistance may result in licence suspension.
At present, persons with Group 2 licences issued from 1991 are barred from driving if they take insulin whilst those on sulphonylureas need to satisfy a variety of criteria before one is issued. Other regulations apply to those on the newer agents (gliptins and GLP-1 analogues). This inevitably puts some patients in a difficult situation compromising their health in order to retain their licence and often their employment. Such people include HGV and bus drivers. This guidance is changing from October 2011, a licence being issued if the applicant fulfils a long list of hypo related caveats.
Dr. Mark Freeman