Legal i

Driving with diabetes


I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my doctor has advised that I should notify the DVLA, but I am worried that I might lose my driving licence.

I need my car to get to and from work and for family and social reasons.


Minimum standards of medical fitness are required for persons suffering from diabetes. The standards differ depending on whether you have or are applying for a Group 1 licence (which includes car drivers such as yourself) or Group 2 (medium-sized and large goods vehicles and all passenger carrying vehicles).

Diabetes is a prescribed disability for Group 1 licences, where the person concerned has had two or more episodes of severe hypoglycemia during the previous one-year period, or who has impaired awareness of hypoglycemia. An applicant for a licence who has diabetes treated with insulin is not prevented by that disability from obtaining a licence if he does not have impaired awareness, has been without a severe hypoglycemic attack for a year and meets other conditions concerning diabetes.

Because you have become aware that you are suffering from diabetes, you are required by law to notify the DVLA of that fact, unless you had not previously suffered the disability and you have reasonable grounds for believing that it will not extend for more than three months. The DVLA then has power to revoke your driving licence, but whether or not this would happen would depend on the severity of your condition, as described above. If the DVLA were to revoke your licence, you would have a right of appeal to a magistrates’ court and the burden would be on you to prove that you are entitled to a licence in the face of the regulations as to disease and disability. The appeal decision would be based on your fitness to drive rather than to the consequences of your being unable to drive, as public and personal safety are obviously the overriding objectives when considering the legislation.

Other diseases and disabilities that could bring about a refusal to grant a licence or the revocation of an existing licence include severe mental disorder, sudden attacks of disabling giddiness or fainting (including a predisposition to such attacks by reason of a heart condition or that a person has a heart pacemaker implanted in his body), epilepsy and persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.

A licence may also be refused or revoked because of other diseases or physical disabilities which would make the driver, or intending driver, a source of danger to the public, including deafness. There are also eyesight requirements, which we have written about on another occasion, and these requirements differ according to whether the licence is for Group 1 or Group 2.

Designed by solicitors, tested by barristers and available around the clock, Road Traffic Representation is an online legal system that allows people accused of a motoring offence to get free advice on how the law will be applied in their case, and referral to a telephone helpline and representation by a barrister in court if required. Practising solicitor Martin Langan spent two years designing the system and creating the data repository which allows the software to analyse road traffic offences with the same authority as a solicitor.

Twitter: martinlangan
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