ADA Updates Standards of Care for Driving With Diabetes

Patients with diabetes should be assessed individually to determine their risk

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- For people with diabetes, the eligibility to receive a driver's license should be an individual decision, based on clinical evidence and appropriate consideration of potential safety risks, according to a position statement from the American Diabetes Association published in a supplement to the January issue of Diabetes Care.

The American Diabetes Association reviewed the scientific and medical evidence to determine whether, and the extent to which, diabetes is a relevant factor in determining driver ability and eligibility for a driver's license.

The investigators report that hypoglycemia, retinopathy or cataract formation, and neuropathy may all impact driving safety for individuals with diabetes. However, the incidence of these conditions is not sufficient to justify restriction of driving privileges for all patients with diabetes. Individuals with a significantly increased risk should be identified and evaluated by means of a short questionnaire, before they are licensed to drive. Evaluation should include assessment by the treating physician or diabetes specialist. A driver's license should only be suspended or restricted if it is the only practical way to deal with an established safety risk, and it should reflect the professional judgment of the evaluating physician and safety concerns. When there is evidence of severe hypoglycemia, an appropriate assessment should be undertaken to identify the cause, and the likelihood of recurrence. The determination of medical fitness to drive should be a clinical decision. Health care professionals should be knowledgeable and discuss risk reduction with their patients and the potential risks associated with their treatment regimens.

"People with diabetes should be assessed individually, taking into account each individual's medical history as well as the potential related risks associated with driving," the authors of the statement write.

Diabetes and Driving Position Statement
Standard of Care Position Statement

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