Just because you have diabetes does not mean you have to give up driving or learning to drive. You just need to be more prepared before you go out in the car, especially if you are treated with insulin or a drug that affects your blood glucose levels. At present, a person with diabetes can continue to hold a group one licence: car and motorcycle.

People with diabetes treated with insulin can now apply for a category 2 licence, prior to July 2011 you were not allowed to apply to drive lorries or buses. You can now apply as longs you follow the current guidelines.  These new guidelines now state that you can apply for a category 2 licence if you meet certain medical criteria, if you have an annual independant medical assessment and if you have good glycaemic control. To apply for a category 2 licence you will need to use a blood glucose meter that records your blood glucose levels, that you can then print out and send with your application. This move has been welcomed by Diabetes UK, please visit their website and the DVLA's for more information.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) need to be contacted if you are insulin treated. Following this, you will be sent a DIAB1 medical questionnaire that you need to complete, you can also download the form online at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla. Once you have completed the questionnaire, the DVLA will contact your diabetes specialist doctor (consultant or GP) to find out about your hypoglycaemic awareness and that you meet the required visual standards.

If you would like further information on driving then please click here to download this leaflet by TREND Diabetes.  This leaflet gives a concise guide to rules around driving and may be useful for health care professionals to download for their patients.

Are There Any Restrictions?

If you have diabetes treated with tablets their are no restrictions upon your licence. However if your diabetes is treated with insulin then you are normally issued a licence every three years. Just before the expiry date, you will recieve a reminder to renew and will be asked to return your current licence. There are also one and two year restricted licences and these are given out depending on the answers your health care professional provides. The shorter terms licences are normally given to those who have trouble with recognising hypo's or who have had their licence revoked previously due to hypo unawareness.

New governement recommendations on driving and diabetes state that if you drive a car or motorcycle and have had two or more episodes of hypoglycaemia that needed the assistance of another person you will be advised not to drive. The new recommendations also state that people treated with insulin or suplhonylureas should test their blood glucose levels before driving.

For more information on the rules and regulations for driving different vehicles please click here to download a useful information leaflet. This leaflet explains in detail about the DVLA's driving regulations and was developed by Trend -UK and distributed by MSD.

Contact details

Post: Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1TU
Telephone: 0870 6000301
Fax: 0845 8500095
Email: eftd@dvla.gsi.gov.uk

Hypoglycaemia & Driving

When driving, one of the most important things to consider is the risk of hypoglycaemia. The current guidlines from the DVLA are:

  • You should not drive if you feel hypoglycaemic or if when testing your blood glucose it is less than 4mmol/l.
  • If hypoglycaemia develops when driving you should stop the vehicle as soon as possible in a safe location, switch off the engine, remove the keys from the ignition and move into the passenger seat. Then treat your hypo.
  • Do not resume driving until 45 minutes after the blood glucose has returned to normal. It takes up to 45 minutes for the brain to fully recover.
  • Always keep an emergency supply of fast-acting carbohydrate such as glucose tablets or sweets within easy reach inside the vehicle.
  • Carry your blood glucose meter and blood glucose test strips with you.  Check your blood glucose before driving (even on short journeys) and test regularly (every two hours) on long journeys. If blood glucose is 5mmol/l or less, take a snack before driving.
  • Carry personal identification indicating that you have diabetes in case of injury in a road traffic accident.
  • Particular care should be taken during changes in insulin regimens, changes in lifestyle, exercise, travel and pregnancy.
  • Take regular meals, snacks and rest periods on long journeys. Always avoid alcohol.

Taken from DVLA: At a glance: guide to the current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive, updated September 2009.

Vocational Driving Licence

Following the change to driving regulations last November people with insulin treated diabetes can now apply or re-apply for Vocational driving entitlements. Prior to this people who were started on insulin and held driver categories C1, C1E, D1, D1E, C, CE, D, or DE, had their licence's withdrawn. Vehicles in these categories include mini buses, buses and heavier medium sized vehicles.

To apply or re-apply for these entitlements there is a staged process involving medical questionnaires and an examination. To find out more about how to apply or the application process please download the DVLA leaflet on this matter on the side of this page.  Or visit the DVLA website by clicking this link.

Block A Level One, Queen Mary's Hospital, Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6LT Diabetes Queries: 020 8269 3419