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a diabetes blood testing imageJanuary 5 2018

Diabetes UK is celebrating a change in the law which should see fewer people with diabetes having their driving restricted.

From January 1 2018, the law has changed so that only people who have severe hypoglycaemia episodes while they are awake need to inform DVLA and not drive. This is a change in the law from the previous requirement to cease driving if a person had two or more severe hypoglycaemic attacks in a year, even if they were asleep when one of the episodes took place.

In addition, “the new regulations will also mean that people who lose their licence after having severe episodes of hypoglycaemia will be able to renew their licence within three months of their last episode. Previously, people could wait up to two years to be able to reapply,” said Diabetes UK.

The changes in the law has been made by the Department for Transport and follows several years of campaigning by Diabetes UK which led the DVLA to seek an amendment to the EU Directive of 2006. “In 2011, we responded to the consultation on implementing the EU Directive and made clear that it was not fair for someone to lose their driving licence if they had a hypoglycaemia attack at night, as there was no evidence to support this,” said the charity.

The regulations are also updated to take into consideration continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and flash GM technology. However, guidance on testing blood glucose levels has still to be issued. “Current advice is that people should continue to test with a blood glucose meter before driving.”

Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, commented: “We are over the moon that after years of campaigning, the DVLA and EU agree it is unfair for people with diabetes to lose their licence for severe hypoglycaemia episodes at night whilst they are asleep.”

Links:
Diabetes UK announcement         

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