Research & reports

Title: The forgotten risk of driving with Hypoglycaemia in Type 2 diabetes

Organisation: TRL
Date uploaded: 5th November 2014
Date published/launched: October 2014

This report evaluates the evidence related to the prevalence and impact of hypoglycaemia for people with Type 2 Diabetes who drive and makes recommendations on how these people can be supported.

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This report evaluates the evidence related to the prevalence and impact of hypoglycaemia for people with Type 2 Diabetes who drive and makes recommendations on how these people can be supported through better recording of hypoglycaemia, research, optimisation of medicine management, support and education.

Almost one in four driving licences with a medical notification has a notification related to treatment for diabetes. In 2014, this was equivalent to approximately 575,000 active licences for people treated with diabetes, of which 13% were Group 2 drivers (typically of lorries and/or buses).

Recommendations from the DVLA on driving with diabetes have changed in recent years to reflect evidence of increased risks related to hypoglycaemia for certain categories of medicines. Drivers are likely to have their licence revoked after one severe hypoglycaemic event (for Group 2 drivers) or two events (for Group 1 drivers of cars, light vans and/or motorcycles).

Yet the onus for safe driving remains with the individual, who is responsible for managing their condition irrespective of the extent of education they have had on how to prevent hypoglycaemia or options they have been offered by healthcare professionals to help minimise risk. Coupled with demands they may face when driving for work purposes, which can include long distances and hours, and a threat to their livelihood if their licence is revoked, it is unsurprising more people do not seek help.

This report highlights the fact that more needs to be done to inform drivers with this form of the disease to seek support from the medical profession, employers and peers so that they can best manage their condition and remain healthy and on the road.

The report suggests that more support and advice needs to be given to people to ensure that they are able to reduce the risk and argues that health care professionals and the DVLA are best placed to do more to help make drivers aware of how best to manage their condition.

Recommendations include:
The DVLA, as a trusted source of information, should provide clear and simple guidance on its website advising drivers of ways to prevent hypoglycaemia through speaking to their health care professionals (HCPs).
Ambulance Services should collect data about hypoglycaemia in a consistent format so that the hidden risk of hypoglycaemia can be compared across regions and integrated into the patient pathway.
NICE to advise HCPs to ask patients with T2D if driving is part of their work and to consider this when prescribing medication.
People with T2D to be given appropriate education on the causes and risks of hypoglycaemia and the management of T2D, to empower them to speak to their HCP about a review of their medicines

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