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Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Legislation for Driving with Diabetes

By Suki Williams

The law has looked upon diabetics largely as not being safe to drive on the roads for several years now. There has been a great deal of debate as to how fair the laws surrounding this issue are. Being diabetic doesn't automatically mean that you cannot drive in the UK, yet a new EU directive looks set to clamp down even tighter on diabetic drivers. The new rules have come under a great deal of criticism, with many people claiming that they are simply too strict.

It is expected that the new legislation, which is due to be introduced in early October, will take in excess of 1 million motorists off the road. Many major diabetes organisations, such as Diabetes UK have protested these changes, as they deem them to be totally prejudice. Drivers that have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes will be subject to strict rulings of whether or not they should be deemed as safe to be on the roads.

The law already states that diabetes sufferers that use insulin will not be eligible to drive heavy good s vehicles, due to the risk of blacking out whilst behind the wheel. There have been several campaigns for the Department of Transport to review the laws, due to the absence of taking individual cases into consideration before making the decision. Diabetes affects people to various degrees, and each case is different. The law doesn't take these into account and treats most diabetes sufferers the same.

The new rules state that anyone who suffers from two or more hypos (hypoglycaemia episodes) will be banned from driving any vehicle on UK roads. The rules are much stricter than those used abroad, and many people think that they are simply too strict.

Until now, the DVLA defined hypos as episodes that require another person to administer carbohydrate or take some other form of action during the waking hours, in order to assist the person who suffers from diabetes. Now the definition includes nocturnal episodes, which has caused a great deal of anger, as there is no medical reasoning to associate nocturnal episodes to driving. The new rulings will mean that diabetics that have driven for many years without problems will lose their licenses. Obviously, many people rely on driving for their livelihoods, so this new legislation will have a huge affect on the lives of many people.

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