A new European rule is about to effect a great many of the UK’s diabetic drivers. The rules covers diabetics who can have a ‘hypo,’ where they need to have a sugary snack urgently to counter the amount of insulin in their system. The rule is to address the problem that these people can have a blackout if they do not consume sugar and this can be dangerous on the road.
The rule will cover people who have two or more hypos in a year. The directive will be taking effect next month and Diabetics UK has made protests to the government about the change of law. The charity has said to the government that the evidence to say these people are a risk on the roads is just not there.
Some diabetics have already found troubles with the new laws as some offices of the DVLA have started banning them from having licences already. The interpretation of the law is that even if they have the hypo when asleep it can be counted as one of the two a year that can lead to a driving ban. Simon O’Neill of the charity has said, “We stand by the argument that nocturnal hypoglycaemia is an unnecessary consideration when assessing whether someone has the capacity to drive.
Professor Geoff Gill is from Aintree University in Liverpool and has said, “Nobody wants people who are a risk to themselves and other drivers to be out on the roads, but this law will mean that diabetics who have been driving safely for years will lose their licenses. Many of these people depend on their cars for their livelihood. It is clear that a balance needs to be struck here. We need our roads to be safe but we need to allow people their independence.”