Driving licenses and diabetes
There are many myths about the driver’s licenses and diabetes. The most common question is whether you automatically lose your driver’s license when diagnosed with diabetes. Yes, it is true that there are more restrictions for people with diabetes than for people who do not have diabetes, but the situation is not as bad as most people think.
Some people with diabetes lose their driver’s license, the most common cause is due to severe and recurrent blood sugar drops (hypoglycemia). People with diabetes who have a driving license may need to perform visual tests at regular intervals or submit certificates before it is time to travel.
Regulations for individuals with type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes and good control of your blood sugar and a low risk of developing a sudden fall in blood sugar, you can get driving license ratings: A, A1, B and BE according to the regulations. It is important to know the risks and be careful despite good blood sugar control because sudden blood sugar falls can lead to loss of consciousness or reduced ability to react.
People with type 1 diabetes should know all the warning signs of acute blood sugar fall (hypoglycemia) and how this can be lifted. In addition to blood sugar levels, the person should take into account vision, cardiovascular diseases and cognitive disorders that may affect driving or reaction speed.
Permissions for type 1 diabetes
|Permissions authorized||Permissions not authorized (in most western countries)|
|Light motorcycle||Heavy truck|
|Motorcycle||Heavy truck with trailers|
|Passenger and Light truck||Bus|
|Passenger and light truck with a heavy trailer||Taxi driver ID|
Regulations for individuals with type 2 diabetes
Persons with type 2 diabetes may have all driving license entitlements, even if they are treated with insulin. This presupposes that the individual can identify warning signs of blood sugar fall and checks blood sugar levels regularly.
What if a person suffers from severe and recurrent blood sugar falls
Severe hypoglycemia (acute blood sugar fall)
Severe hypoglycemia is defined as an episode of acute blood glucose that required assistance from a healthcare professional, ambulance, friend or partner to be lifted. People with at least 2 severe hypoglycemia within 1 year are considered to have recurrent severe hypoglycemia.
Following severe road hypoglycemia, the individual should have an observation period of 6 months for the lower driving license ratings and 12 months for the higher ratings.
Medical certificates and examinations
People with insulin-treated diabetes should undergo a re-examination of the gland card after the first year and every three years the person should undergo a medical examination. For people who do not have insulin-treated diabetes, a re-examination should be done every five years for a lower entitlement license while higher entitlements should be reviewed every three years.
People with well-treated diabetes can obtain a certificate from specialist doctors who have good knowledge of the patient and assess that the risk of complications in traffic is low. Patients with cardiovascular disease or untreated diabetes need to undergo an examination with specialist doctors in internal medicine, endocrinology or diabetology.
Everyone who has had diabetes for more than five years or has fallen ill after the age of 40 years needs a certificate of vision issued by a specialist doctor in the field of eyes.
Revocation of driving licenses and eye examination
People with diabetes who are likely to have a visual field defect must undergo a visual field examination in accordance with the regulations of the Swedish Transport Agency.
In some cases, the doctor has made an excessively rigorous assessment and the person in question can write a request for a review with the Swedish Transport Agency’s Transport Medical Council. In case of withdrawal of a driver’s license, the person can appeal to the administrative court.
Preventing blood sugar fall (hypoglycemia) before driving
People with diabetes who develop a sudden drop in blood sugar while driving must stop the vehicle, turn off the engine, move away from the driver’s seat, take fast-acting carbohydrates such as sugar tablets or sweets and some sort of long-acting carbohydrates such as milk or juice.
Wait until 45 minutes have passed from the normalization of your blood sugar levels because you need to give yourself time to regain focus. If you lost consciousness from blood sugar drops, you should not run at all. If you have insulin-treated diabetes or are using sulfonylurea, you need to check your sugar levels before driving and then every two hours.
Diabetes eye disease (retinopathy) and driving
Diabetes retinopathy occurs when the retina is damaged by vascular changes that occur as a result of diabetes and high blood sugar levels. People who do not have diabetes may also develop retinopathy, but people with diabetes are more likely to develop this complication because it is so strongly connected with high blood sugar.
If you start developing eye problems, this does not mean that you automatically get your driver’s license withdrawn. You need to undergo a special examination at the ophthalmologist to assess your eyesight. Multiple eye problems are reversible.
Driving and other complications of diabetes
Diabetes neuropathy affects your nerves and can cause you to lose touch in your hands and feet, but also other parts of the body. In severe cases of neuropathy, you should ask medical professionals for more advice.
Cardiovascular complications caused by diabetes can affect your ability to drive a car, you should undergo a cardiologist examination to assess whether you have the ability to drive in traffic.