Driving and diabetes: are the changes in the European Union licensing regulations fit for purpose?


  • Alex J Graveling Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZP
  • Brian M Frier The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ




driving, driving licensing, road traffic accidents, hypoglycaemia, type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy


Driving is an important everyday activity for many people with diabetes, which is designated a prospective disability as it may impair driving performance as it progresses in severity. In effect, the principal threat to driving performance is hypoglycaemia associated with insulin therapy. Regular assessment of medical fitness to drive is undertaken to identify drivers with diabetes who are at greatest risk of experiencing motor vehicle accidents. Many countries do not restrict the licensing of drivers with insulin-treated diabetes and fail to review and/or restrict the driving of large goods vehicles or those carrying passengers. The European Union has formulated regulations for driving licensing for diabetes through successive directives, which have been implemented by individual countries including the UK. In response to submissions to relax licensing restrictions, some of these have been amended recently and were implemented in the UK in January 2018. Their rationale and potential value are discussed.


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