19 October 2011
From a date to be announced in October 2011, DVLA rules are changing to allow people with insulin-treated diabetes to apply for a group 2 vehicle driving licence to drive lorries and buses. In the interest of road safety, strict medical criteria will apply, including a requirement to show adequate control of the condition by regular blood glucose monitoring using blood glucose meters with a memory function. This requirement does not apply to group 1 vehicle driving of cars and motorcycles.
The DVLA Drivers Medical Group wish to inform as many people as possible who may be affected by these changes about them. A poster is available to display in surgeries/clinics. Further information on the changes and how to make an application for a group 2 licence can be found on the DVLA website at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/medical.
1. Changes to the standards for driving Group 2 vehicles (buses and lorries)
The consultation on Proposals to amend Driving Licence Standards for Vision, Diabetes and Epilepsy closed on 28th April 2011. The proposals included changes to allow applicants with diabetes treated with insulin to be considered for Group 2 licensing. The DVLA intend to introduce this and other changes to the regulations for insulin-treated diabetes in October 2011.
From a date to be announced in October 2011, to be able to apply for entitlement to drive Group 2 vehicles, applicants will have to meet the following standards when treated with insulin. When treated with medication other than insulin which carries a risk of inducing hypoglycaemia (including sulfonylureas and glinides), the following standards have applied since September 2010:
- There has not been any severe hypoglycaemic event in the previous 12 months
- The driver has full hypoglycaemic awareness
- The driver must show adequate control of the condition by regular blood glucose monitoring, at least twice daily and at times relevant to driving*
- The driver must demonstrate an understanding of the risks of hypoglycaemia and
- There are no other debarring complications of diabetes.
*To demonstrate adequate control of the condition by regular blood glucose monitoring, the Secretary of State’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Diabetes Mellitus (the Panel) has recommended that applicants with insulin-treated diabetes will need to have used blood glucose meters with a memory function to measure and record blood glucose levels for at least three months prior to submitting their application.
The requirement to demonstrate three months of blood glucose monitoring before applying for a Group 2 licence is already a requirement of the current C1 licensing process for drivers with insulin-treated diabetes. The additional requirement to demonstrate monitoring using a blood glucose monitor with a memory function is considered by the Panel to be an appropriate additional requirement to balance the desire to increase opportunities for those affected whilst ensuring the country’s excellent road safety record. The DVLA would like this to be made clear to any patients who are considering applying for Group 2 licensing.
In addition, all applicants for a Group 2 licence will need to meet the Group 2 standards for all the other medical conditions from which they suffer.
2. Changes to the standards for driving Group 1 vehicles (cars and motorcycles) The following changes introduced by the European Union have applied since September 2010:
- Must not have had more than one episode of severe hypoglycaemia within the preceding 12 months
- Must not have impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia which has been defined by the Diabetes Panel for Group 1 vehicles as ’an inability to detect the onset of hypoglycaemia because of a total absence of warning symptoms’.
More information on the current medical standards of fitness to drive can be found in the DVLA’s ’at a glance‘ guide.
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