Drivers who suffer with diabetes will no longer have their licence unfairly taken off them, following changes to European law. The changes have been welcomed by Diabetes UK who say that the previous rules saw many sufferers lose their licence ‘unnecessarily’.
In 2011, European laws were introduced which meant that drivers who have to treat their illness with insulin, who have had more than one episode of severe hypoglycaemia could lose their licence. Hypoglycaemia, known as ‘hypos’ is when a person’s blood sugars drop to a low level and they require assistance from another person. If a driver has had one or more of these episodes, they would have to inform the DVLA.
According to Diabetes UK, the DVLA does not differentiate between daytime and nighttime episodes, which means that some sufferers are having to surrender their licence unnecessarily. Now, after reviewing evidence, the European Commission has said that driving bans for people who suffer from hypoglycaemia whilst asleep should be lifted. According to Diabetes UK, the DVLA should have to make these changes by 2018.
The Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said that the European Commission was ‘absolutely right’ to oppose to the ban, adding that the charity has been campaigning for the overturn for five years. He added that he understood it was ‘imperative’ that all drivers on the road are healthy, but stressed that assessing this must be done in a way that is ‘fair’.
A spokesperson for the DVLA said that safety is a top priority for the agency. He added that changes to licensing for hypoglycaemia night time sufferers would be considered on a case by case basis, consisting of risk assessments and medical evidence. Lastly, he stressed that the agency had been working with the European Commission on what they deem to be ‘a common sense approach’.