Driving

This leaflet explains what you need to know about driving as someone with diabetes. It covers potential risks such as having a hypo. This leaflet also includes the implications for your car insurance and the DVLA.

 

Diabetes does not mean you need to give up driving, but it does mean you have to plan in advance so your driving is safe and hazard free.

Car insurance

For your car insurance to be valid you must inform your insurance company as soon as you are diagnosed. This applies whether you control it by diet, tablets or insulin. If your company wants to charge you a higher premium, get quotes from other companies for comparison, as there can be a big difference.

DVLA 

Licence Categories

Group 1 Licence: cars/motorcycles/minibuses (up to 8 seats) up to 3.5 tonnes.

Group 2 Licence: Large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles

Following a change in legislation implemented on the 15/11/11 anyone treated with insulin therapy can now apply for or renew their vocational entitlements to a Group 2 Licence (category C1, C1E, D1,D1E,CE,D,DE)

Drivers treated with Insulin 

If your diabetes is managed with insulin therapy you must by law inform DVLA by completing a Diab 1 form to apply for Car or Motorcycle licence.

Your license will be issued for 1, 2 or 3 years. There is no fee for renewal.

The following link provides information on driving recommendations for all types of Diabetes Treatment

You must tell the DVLA if you have or develop any problems that affect your safety to drive

  • Such as hypo at the wheel
  • Loss of hypo warning signs
  • Recurrent hypos
  • Diabetic complications

The following link details the application process for Group 2 Licence and qualifying conditions. If all criteria are met the Licence will be issued and reviewed annually. 

Drivers with diabetes treated by non insulin medication, diet, or both.

Group 1 Drivers do not need to tell the DVLA if their diabetes is treated by diet, tablets or both if they are free of the complications which are listed in the leaflet/link below. However it is still best to inform the DVLA

If you hold a Group 2 licence and you are prescribed a tablet which is a Sulphonylurea or prandial glucose regulator there is an increased risk of hypoglycaemia. Therefore you must notify the DVLA by completing medical questionnaire 'DIAB1V'.

 

Tablet Group Generic (proper) name Brand (trade) name
Sulphonylurea  Glibenclamide  
Gliclazide Diamicron/ Diamicron MR
Glimepiride Amaryl
Glipizide Glibenese/Minodiab
Tolbutamide  
Prandial glucose regulator  Nateglinide Starlix
Repaglinide Prandin

 

If you are on any other diabetes treatment, including non-insulin injections such as Victoza or Byetta, it may not cause hypoglycaemia when taken on its own. However when used in combination with any of the tablets mentioned below, the risk of hypoglycaemia is greater.

If meets medical standards 1, 2 or 3 year licence will be issued.

DVLA Telephone: 0300 790 6801

Driving and low blood sugars 

There is a risk of hypoglycaemia if you are treated with insulin or or medications with carry risk of hypoglycaemia. Having a hypo while in charge of motor vehicle can be fatal for you or for others.

At the first sign of hypoglycaemia

  • Stop as soon as it is safe to do so
  • Take fast acting carbohydrate immediately
  • Remove the key from ignition and move into the passenger seat
  • Take slow acting carbohydrate
  • Blood Glucose must be above 5 mmol/l for 45 minutes prior to driving. 

To avoid hypoglycaemia 

  • Check Blood Glucose (using finger tips) before driving(even short distances)
  • Check Blood Glucose during long journeys
  • Carry rapid acting & slow acting carbohydrates in your car
  • Don't drive for more than 2 hours without a snack
  • Carry identification of your diabetes on yourself and in your car
  • Never ignore symptoms

When to contact the DVLA 

The DVLA have released a video explaining when you need to inform the DVLA about your diabetes:

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