UK Told to Relax Ban on Some Drivers with Type 1 Diabetes

The European Union is asking UK regulators in charge of handing out a licence to operate a motor vehicle to relax standards on drivers with Type 1 diabetes. However, it’s unclear if there will be much urgency on the part of the UK government to comply.

In March, the European Commission has asked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to change rules that have banned some people with Type 1 from having driver licences. Under the current rules, any UK driver with Type 1 who had two bouts of hypoglycemia severe enough to need assistance in the past year must forfeit their license to drive. The commission is hoping to the DVLA will implement changes to do away with this provision by January 2018, according to a report by the advocacy group Diabetes UK.

Such hypoglycemia-connected driving bans may unintentionally cause people with diabetes to underreport bouts of hypoglycemia to medical caregivers. In 2012, Danish researchers found that reported cases of hypoglycemia dropped 55 percent soon after Denmark enacted a similar ban.

Of course, it’s still unclear if UK driving regulators will listen to the European Commission. That’s because UK voters opted in June to exit the European Union. It’s going to take long and arduous negotiations between the UK government and the EU to determine which EU regulations the UK will follow and which it will ignore. That process could leave rule changes like this one up in limbo for a long time to come.

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Image: Joseph M. Arseneau /

Courtney Major currently attends Emerson College where she majors in Writing, Literature, and Publishing with a minor in Marketing Communications.

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