Diabetes and Driving

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A Guide to Insulin Treated Diabetes and Driving

Driver who have any form of diabetes treated with any insulin preparation must inform DVLA.

You must also inform the DVLA if your diabetes has become worse since your last licence was issued.


All drivers are required by law to read in good daylight, a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle containing letters and figures 79.4mm high and 57mm wide, at a distance of 20.5 metres or at a distance of 20 metres where the characters are 50mm wide and 79mm high.

You must inform DVLA if:

  • You are unable to meet the number plate requirement 
  • Any problems that affect your field of vision
  • Any conditions that affect both eyes or the remaining eye if monocular
  • You have had laser treatment to both eyes for retinopathy, or to the remaining eye in monocular


The risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), is the main hazard to safe driving. This may endanger your own life as well as that of other road users. Many of the accidents caused by hypoglycaemia are because drivers continue to drive even though they area experiencing warning signs of hypoglycaemia. Always stop as soon as safely possible - do not ignore warning signs.

You must inform DVLA if:

  • You develop an impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia 
  • You suffer disabling hypoglycaemia at the wheel
  • You have frequent episode of hypoglycaemia

Limb Problems

Limb problems / amputations are unlikely to prevent driving. They may be overcome by either restricting driving to certain types of vehicles e.g. those with automatic transmission, or by adaptions such as hand operated accelerator / brake.

You must inform DVLA if:

  • You develop problem with either the nerves or with the circulation in your legs which prevent safe use of the foot pedals.

Divers with Insulin Treated Diabetes Advice

Divers with Insulin treated diabetes are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drive if you feel hypoglycaemia or if your blood glucose is less than 4.0 mmol/l
  • If hypoglycaemia develops while driving, stop the vehicle as soon as safely possible 
  • Do not resume driving until 45 minutes after blood glucose has returned to normal. It takes up to 45 minutes for the brain to full recover
  • Always keep an emergency support of fast-acting carbohydrate such as glucose tablets or sweets within easy reach of the vehicle
  • Carry your glucose meter and glucose strips with you. Check blood glucose before driving (even on short journeys) and test regularly, every 2 hours, on long journeys. If blood glucose level is 5.0mmol/l or less, take a snack before driving.
  • Carry personal identification indicating that you have diabetes in case of injury in a road traffic accident
  • Particular care should be taken during changes of insulin regimens, changes of lifestyle, exercise, travel and pregnancy.
  • Take regular meals, snacks and rest periods on long journeys.
  • Always avoid alcohol

Contact us

Web: http://www.direct.gov.uk/motoring

Tel: 0870 600 0301 (8:15AM to 4:30PM - Monday to Friday)

Write: Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1TU

Email: eftd@dvla.gsi.gov.uk

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