Driving and diabetes

If you are the holder of a car, moped or motorcycle driving licence (group one), have diabetes treated by diet and or tablets and you’re free from any complications, you’ll normally be able to retain your until 70 licence.

You’ll be aware that some people with diabetes develop associated problems. Those that are important for driving include eyesight complications and loss of sensation in the legs. In the interests of road safety you must be sure at all times that you can safely control a motor vehicle.

Informing DVLA

The law requires you to inform DVLA if any of the following occur:

  • You require treatment with insulin
  • You require laser treatment to both eyes for retinopathy, or the remaining eye if one eye only
  • If both eyes, or remaining eye if one eye only, are affected by other eye problems, (you are required by law to be able to read, with corrective lenses if necessary, a car number plate in good light at 20.5 metres (67 feet) or 20 metres (65 feet) where narrower characters 50mm wide are displayed)
  • You develop problems with the circulation or sensation in the legs, which make it necessary for you to drive certain types of vehicles only, eg automatic vehicles or modifications to a vehicle, hand operated accelerator brake. This must be noted on the licence
  • an existing medical condition deteriorates or you develop any other condition which may affect safe driving at any time in the future

If the above information indicates that you do need to notify DVLA about your condition you can do so by printing off and completing medical questionnaire DIAB1 (.pdf format).

The DVLA will normally ask you to send your licence back and issue you with a 3 yearly renewable licence. You may continue to drive during the period you are awaiting your new licence. Unless you develop hypo-unawareness, or have an accident due to a hypo whilst driving there should be no reason why the DVLA do not renew your licence after 3 years.

You should also inform your insurance company in writing. Insurance companies should acknowledge your information but should not load your premium.

If you are on insulin and your doctor is trying to restrict your test strip prescription please download the official advice on testing given by the DVLA which says that you must test before driving and every two hours during a long journey!

Further detailed information can be found on the Direct.gov website page “A guide for drivers with diabetes”