Fleet News

Diabetic licence change proposed

SOME insulin-dependent diabetic drivers could soon be back behind the wheels of 3.5-7.5-tonne trucks - subject to annual health checks and provided the vehicles are driven in the course of employment. But despite lobbying from the British Diabetic Association on regulations which came into force earlier this year, diabetic minibus drivers will not be able to re-apply for their licences.

From January 1 insulin-treated drivers have been banned from renewing their C1 category licences, and 9-16-seater minibus drivers from renewing D1 licences, but in April MPs called for a review. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions now proposes a law change to allow drivers who had been employed as C1 drivers before January 1, 1998 to re-apply for their licences. Newly-diagnosed insulin-treated diabetics will not be eligible.

Commenting on the proposal, Road Safety Minister Baroness Hayman said: 'Road safety is paramount. The medical requirements for driver licensing reflect this, but it is always necessary to strike the appropriate balance. Advice from our panel of advisers is that drivers who meet all the criteria will not present a significant road safety risk if they continue to drive C1 vehicles. We are therefore pleased to propose this change to the law.'

Diabetics' C1 entitlement will be subject to a satisfactory annual assessment by a diabetes specialist and to stringent criteria to show their diabetes is well controlled. Public consultation on the issue closes on July 10.

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