Driver's License for Persons with Diabetes

Diabetes: Driving Under the Influence

Should diabetes be a factor in receiving or keeping your driver’s license? Well, it is.

Though laws vary from state to state, it is becoming more difficult for people with diabetes to keep a driver’s license. Particularly at risk are those dependent on insulin to maintain blood glucose levels. According to a position statement released by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the laws were discriminatory and ill-conceived. The ADA fought against a “one size fits all” policy. Instead, calling for individual assessments and that most people with diabetes have no issues operating a vehicle safely.

Driving with Diabetes

But for those of you that do have issues, it is vital you make a concerted effort to stabilize your blood glucose levels. Not only for your license but your life. Hypoglycemia or abnormally low blood glucose levels in connection with driving error gives way to angst. More concerning is the number of unjustified DUI arrests of diabetic drivers. Symptoms of hypoglycemia appear similar to those of a person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. On occasion, this has landed a hypoglycemic in jail rather than an emergency room. State policy could require medical identification on the license. But, herein lies another concern. If an applicant admits a diabetic condition that puts their approval at risk. Denying the condition could put the driver at risk should a hypoglycemic episode occur while driving. Without this information, the arresting officer would not be aware of the need for medical attention.

person with diabetes taking driver's test

Who Decides?

Applicants for original driver’s license must answer health related questions prior to receiving their license. Currently in the state of Texas, an applicant who is dependent on insulin or suffered episodes of blackouts or loss of consciousness in the past three years then a medical evaluation is required. Professional evaluations and reports from acceptable medical authorities are gathered and used in evaluations. The state’s independent Medical Advisory Board reviews all information and makes recommendations based on medical guidelines and individual reports.

To avoid hypoglycemic episodes take your condition seriously. Maintain a vigilant watch over your glucose levels. Make healthy lifestyle choices of food and fitness. And check your blood glucose levels before you get behind the wheel. For a diabetic, a good bill of health is worth far more than just a driver’s license. Life, it’s worth living!

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