Driving Licensing Requirements/Restrictions for D's

Hi there,

Just yesterday I received my medical report request for my driving license, which occurs every 3 years, and it got me wondering what the requirements are for D’s in other countries.

Here in Oz (and in particular the state of Victoria, not sure about other states) when we get our license, there is a box on the form that you have to tick if you are a Diabetic. Then every 3 years, a form arrives in the mail that has to be sent back within 6 weeks of the date shown on the letter. This form is basically a medical report to be filled in by my endo stating the level of control, current insulin requirements, whether or not there are any D complications and what hypos or hypers resulting in a loss of consciousness have occurred in the last 12 months or so. This gets reviewed by the licensing body (in my case VicRoads) and if you don’t meet the criteria, your license gets pulled. There are no other restrictions in regard to your driving other than the request for a medical certificate.

I don’t have a problem with this, as everyone needs to be in a fit state to drive for the safety of all on the roads. I do however have a gripe about the bureaucracy of this in regard to me - for a start I don’t think that 6 weeks is enough to sort out an endo appt, get the endo to fill out the report and then send it back in. As a D we see our endos regularly (or should do!) and so a system where you are required to send in a ‘fit to drive’ report every 3 years would be much better. If you fail to send one in, THEN you get a reminder letter with the requirement to send in the report within 6 weeks or else your license gets canned. Secondly, as I race a car, and therefore have a racing license, this license also requires an endo report certifying that my D is in good enough control for me to race. The D report required for my racing license is actually more strict than my road license one (as it should be!) and is required on a yearly basis. But guess what, the road license body (VicRoads) doesn’t ‘recognise’ the endo report done for the racing license and therefore every 3 years my endo has to write 2 reports!! How dumb is that??!! Typical govnt red tape if you ask me.

Anyway, I was just curious about other countries restrictions/driving licensing requirements for their diabetics, so please post away…

Here in the States we don’t have to fill out any forms for being a D and driving. A Doctor can alert the State if they believe you are a risk. The state can also take it away your right to drive if you were in an accident.

Well this is very interesting. Here in Washington State (USA) we fly low and avoid the radar.

I do get my eyes checked at each renewal, but so far they’ve expressed no other interest in my health or fitness to drive.

There would be anarchy for sure if anyone tried to take our licenses away before we’re quite dotty and decrepit. We do love our cars and our freedom to careen about long after we really should have stopped.

I remember when I switched my license over to Maryland that there was a box to check if you had diabetes. I didn’t check it, so I am not sure what happens after that.

All of the paperwork seems to be quite the hassle, however, and I would feel it was an invasion of privacy too. I could understand if you have problems, but for everyone with diabetes?! Six weeks is definitely not enough time to get all that paperwork in order!

hmmm I never heard of this in California, USA Ive been driving since I was 16 and now im 22 and My “D” was never mentioned when it came to getting my license.

Thanks for your replies :slight_smile:

BrockG - You don’t fill out forms about D when you get your license, it is a simple tick box on the std license. If you do tick it then you need to supply a medical certificate when you first get your license and are then asked for one every two-three years.

JeanV - hahah after reading my page I’m sure you would realize they would have to take away my licenses out of my cold, dead hand before I gave them up :smiley:

JeanV & kphil06 - I have also heard about D’s here in Oz who would also do not tick that box on the application form and ‘fly under the radar’. Here in Oz the licensing body is responsible for ensuring everyone they give a license to is fit to drive. Over here as part of your car rego you pay a ‘fee’ (read: tax) called TAC - what this means is that if anyone is physically hurt in a traffic accident the TAC pay for all their medical and rehabilitation costs (this is separate from the property insurance). If a D was to not tick that box on the drivers license application and then be involved in an accident, I would imagine they could be dragged through the courts on the grounds they ‘lied’ on their application and have to pay civil damages etc etc. Personally, yes the paperwork is a major pain in the a$$ but I’d rather that than the alternative.

Another question raised by the replies and the above - if you did leave out the part on your drivers license application which specifically asked whether or not you had D and were then involved in an accident caused by a hypo, would your car insurance still cover you?

Here in Western Australia we have to get a form from the Police and get it signed by our doctor and promise to take all prescribed medications. This information is somehow attached to our driving licences.

In Germany we also have a question about a medical condition that might contradict your driving licence: glasses etc. I entered insulin dependend diabetic in this form. With todays driving licences this is no problem. But with the older licences before the European consolidation you can drive small trucks with 3 axes weighing more than 12 tons! In this case you are required to provide a doctors certificate every year (within 4 weeks, if you miss the deadline you will get a nasty yellow last warning letter). This certificate should state your capability to manage your diabetes. If your doctors has doubts about your awareness for lows he can deny this certificate. I could get off the hook by switching to the new licence classification. But what is the use of an IT guy without a truck :wink:

They don’t ask in Washington; if they did, I’d 'fess up.

My auto insurance doesn’t ask either – I guess we just get folded in to the great, big actuarial pie, along with the people who text and drive and the guys who cannot stop staring at that pretty girl on the sidewalk long enough to notice the stop sign they’re about to run.

The only things that impact my insurance rate are: age, driving history (infractions and/or accidents) and the distance I drive to work each day. That’s all they ask about before quoting a rate, at least. I’m sure my gender, where I live (dangerous neighborhood for car thefts, etc.), type of car, etc. are all folded into their actuarial calculations. But health never comes up.

In Florida I do check the box for D. All it does is make a note on your ID that you are insulin dependant. That is all it does. I have had it on mine for 22 years and never had to have a Doctor fill out any paperwork in regards to it.

Yes it does. It would be like them not covering someone who has a heart attack while driving. The only time the insurance will not cover is if you were drinking. Then that is a legal matter. Also if you have an accident while hypo and you hurt someone they can arrest you. They did that to a D out west a few years ago. He went low while driving caused a crash and killed someone. He was charged with a homicide because of his actions and not watching his BS.

below 70 or 4.0 is hypo and is frowned appon all over the world.

In the U.S. some states have special requirements, and some states apparently don’t. Each state gets to decide how they’re going to handle driver’s license requirements.

I’ve lived in two different states in the U.S. where i did have to have a medical form filled out. In Utah, I had to get the form filled out by my doctor every two years, and the doctor basically had to approve you for driving, and under what conditions, etc. There was a little insignia on my actual driver’s license that signified that I had this requirement on my license. In Ohio if you have certain medical conditions (diabetes included) you have to have a two-part license-a regular license, and then a “medical restriction” license. And you have to carry both parts with you when you drive (the regular part is a plastic card, and the medical part is a separate paper card). You have to have your doctor fill out a form saying you’re stable enough to drive, and then they check on the form whether they recommend you get re-evaluated every year, or every four years. In Ohio the whole process starts when you first get your license, and they ask you if you have any medical conditions that could impair your driving. I know a lot of people get out of having to do this by answering “no” to that question, but I didn’t feel good about doing that.

That’s funny. The two states you have lived in while driving BOTH had medical requirements. BOTH states I have lived in while driving had none- Wyoming and Washington state. Washington State does have it’s Commercial Driving License (CDL) that people driving semi trucks for a buisness have to get filled out by a doc. It is actually quite counterproductive as far as managing D. The law basically states once you go on insulin you get your CDL pulled. As you can imagine there are a bunch of people out there driving semi’s that SHOULD be on insulin that aren’t.

In the state of Wisconsin in the USA we have to tick a box on the form only if we have ‘recently experienced unconsciousness’ due to diabetes. After that nothing is asked of us about it. So if you haven’t experienced that when you first apply for a license you never have to reveal to them you are diabetic. I assume however that if you are involved later on in an accident caused by hypoglycemia it would be reported by the authorities to the Department of Transportation…at which point I’m not sure what would happen.

Wow, I’m glad to hear that govt red tape is alive everywhere, not just Oz! It would be so much easier if there were a national std for these things rather than each state having their own rules and regs!

Yes it does. It would be like them not covering someone who has a heart attack while driving. The only time the insurance will not cover is if you were drinking. Then that is a legal matter. Also if you have an accident while hypo and you hurt someone they can arrest you. They did that to a D out west a few years ago. He went low while driving caused a crash and killed someone. He was charged with a homicide because of his actions and not watching his BS.

The above does have some interesting points re the insurance situation and it would be good to get some professional input on the subject. Aside from that, just looking at this in a logical manner, I am not sure it is as clear cut and there may be some grey area. If you take the example above, a heart attack is a sudden event where monitoring/testing doesn’t really exist for an advance warning. The big D is not like this - these days there are plenty of testing options etc that (for the most part) would prevent you driving with low blood sugar. A person with D who is in denial, or for some other reason, gets behind the wheel without testing their sugars could mean the difference between life or death. Effectively their negligence caused the accident. Here is a quick quote out of the UK:
"Highly culpable standard of driving at time of offence…
(g) driving when knowingly suffering from a medical condition which
significantly impairs the offender’s driving skills^6

Another example is Davies [2002] 1 Cr App R (S) 579, where the defendant, a lorry driver with a history of diabetes, suffered a hypoglycaemic attack while driving as a result of culpable failure to control his medical condition. Three people were killed after his lorry drifted across the road and collided with a car containing four people. There were no other aggravating factors, but a sentence of three years after trial was upheld by the Court of Appeal."

It would be easier for one standard to exist, but I never trust red tape loving people to make the rules. They have a tendency to over react and try to foresee every possible event. With each D out there we all have different factors that affect us. For these rule makers to do what they love, they would lump us all together under one standard.

In Oz a law was introduced in Qld called ‘Jets Law’ (one link I found: http://www.anitarowland.com.au/downloads/jets_law_driver_fact_sheet.pdf) in which an epileptic man had a seizure behind the wheel and caused a death of a toddler. Essentially the man had poor control over his condition, ignored the warning signs and got behind the wheel. The law was introduced to protect people with a condition/disease that may cause them to have an accident. This limits culpability to a civil matter only.

Unfortunately, while doing a little research I came across this link: http://www.hypodrive.com.au/story.php
which is a website created by the mother in this tragic story. There is no question this was an extremely tragic case where the life of a young child was extinguished and my heart goes out to the family. I understand that this website would’ve be written with emotions running high but the quote from the website below that I have highlighted in bold appears to set back people with D about 30 years :frowning:

(Quote with thanks to the original website)"I pushed, and eventually he was charged and was set to go to trial, only to have the Department of Police Prosecutions drop all charges, because this man has diabetes. They say he cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions...only civilly.... as he had complied with the new conditions of reporting his medical condition to the Dept of Transport Qld. This took all responsibility off him...as per the new ‘Jets Law’" "Research shows that when driving with a medical condition, there are only guidelines for people to follow...Nothing is law...It comes down to the responsibility of each driver to act according to their condition. The reality is, most diabetics don’t understand the consequences of driving with diabetes. Like the man who hit me – he didn’t know that when he ignored the warning signs of his disease and got behind the wheel, he not only was placing his own life in danger, but everyone else’s as well. This man had no idea that his diabetes could cause anyone else so much trauma."
I feel that sentence is a gross generalization and in most cases simply not true. Sure when you are newly dx'd you are on a learning curve but there is no doubt the dangers of hypos and hypers are well explained.

It is a sad story, but this lady seems to brand us as all unfit to drive. The sad part is is more people are killed in car wrecks with non D drivers then with D drivers. This is what would make the red tape lovers over react.