Driving Laws


(Amanda) #1

Does anyone know what Missouri’s driving laws with diabetes are?


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #2

Hi Amanda @AAT1D, why be concerned about driving laws - unnecessarily.
Driving licenses are based on ability to safely operate and sufficient vision. If you possess these two factors you should not receive any opposition. I do strongly recommend that you NEVER drive if/when your glucose level is low or is about to drop. I have been a safe driver for 62 years [next month] and have never been questioned about diabetes - I always check my BG BEFORE starting out and stop regularly to re-check on long drives. Just be safe and always aware.
The only national restriction had been with operators of COMMERCIAL vehicles and just last month that restriction was lifted.


(Amanda) #3

Oh. OK. Thanks Dennis. I was told that there were driving laws for diabetics in every state so that’s why I asked.


(Mike) #4

If they ask about any issues that may affect your driving and you respond that you are a diabetic they may require you do be medically cleared every year.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #5

Amanda @A, diabetes DOES NOT necessarily impact driving skills or ability.
I can honestly state that diabetes - and I’ve had diabetes for 60+ years and will be licensed to drive for 62 years in November - has never adversely impacted my ability to drive safely, without causing injury to myself or others.

Manage your diabetes properly and you can honestly answer “NO” to any question asking if your have an impairment.


(Jessica) #6

I feel as though this depends on your state and doctor. Im from Pennsylvania and 25 yet I have no license because having an a1c of 8 is uncontrolled. I’ve never passed out, had a seizure ect but I’ve been to 3 different doctor who have turned me down. No one else that I’ve talked to, controlled or not seems to have the issue I am having. They say I could be a danger to others on the road. I feel as though as long as your controlled and your doctor clears you diabetes isnt a huge factor.


(joe) #7

I see than in Pennsylvania, a doctor has to fill out and certify the part where it asks for height, weight, eye color, and there is a check-box for “uncontrolled diabetes”. . I guess that certain doctors, especially if they don’t know much about diabetes, may have in issue because an hba1c of greater than 7 is considered less than optimal control. hba1c of 8 means your average is 185 mg/dl.

ordinarily i’d say “fire the doctor and find another”, but you said that 3 separate doctors all had the same opinion, which seems scary to me… are you OK? I mean this should not mandate you can’t drive unless you pass out or have some other “loss of conscious” issue…

in Jersey, if you inject insulin for any reason you can’t have a CDL. CDL is for public bus driver or semi/trailer professional driver. Also, if you are low and driving, in Jersey, it’s the same a DUI.

When I applied for a license (several hundred years ago) a doctor did not have to certify my height or voice an opinion about my control, which was probably an a1c of 9ish at the time.


(wadawabbit) #8

Some states do require that anyone with a condition that could result in loss of consciousness, have their physician do a medical evaluation and verify whether they believe the person is responsible in treating their condition. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but you do need to know what to do to drive safely. I live in DC, which also requires an eye exam. The doctor indicates how frequently they need to complete the form (in my case, last year me endo said 1 year and my opthomologist said 4). This does vary by state so give your DMV a call and check.


(wadawabbit) #9

History is important and helpful. When I first went for my license at age 16 I had been seeing the same doctor for several years already. I hope I’m not out of line when I say this but the doctor is essentially putting their reputation on the line by signing off, so if you (and I’m using the term collectively, not finger pointing) go to a physician who doesn’t know you they are understandably reluctant.
If you can, find an endo you are comfortable with and stick with them for a while. Hopefully with continuity you will be able to get your numbers down; and even if they aren’t there yet, perhaps they will be still willing to vouch for you unless the DMV requires your A1C to be under 8.


(Loïca) #10

@Dennis
I just wanted to drop in and thank you.
Not sure if it was in this thread that you mentioned that you always check your blood sugar before driving.

I rarely drive. I work in my daughter’s school, which is less than a mile away from home. So we usually walk. It’s good for both of us.

But tonight, before leaving work, driving, even though I felt fine, I decided to check my sugar, I was at 70 and couldn’t remember exactly when was the last time I took insulin, so I figured let me stop in the teacher’s lounge, fill up my tea with milk and sugar. A teacher stopped me asking to help her with something. I got distracted by helping her and never started drinking my tea. Well, I guess I was dropping pretty fast, because next thing I knew I was screaming at my kid to get me sugar. I ran back to the teacher’s lounge, ripped open the sugar packets and pouring them in my mouth.
(The teacher must have thought I was losing my mind, and my kid definitely thought so lol) and sat there taking deep breath, trying to calm down. On the road, I drank my tea, and after coming home I was still only 71

I can only imagine what the other scenario could have been. Not checking my sugar, I wouldn’t have ran into her and would have been on the road. Thank goodness, I aim to always carry my diabetes bag with me, and could have stopped and grab some sugar but I have noticed I really don’t feel my hypo’s very well, until I’m at around 50

So thank you. You mentioning what you do before driving has taught me to be proactive and a responsible diabetic driver.


(stephensyu) #11

In the US, DMV does not consider diabetes as unable to drive. BUT it is many “BAD” doctors would take your driving privilege away from you. Especially those Kaiser Hospital doctors who would refuse to give you insulin pump so they can save money for Kaiser. If you tell Kaiser doctor that you have low glucose episode, then s/he would write a letter to DMV to suspend your driver license. It takes a lot of effort to get your driver license back. You should ask (1), Would your doctor offer you an insulin pump? (2). Would your doctor report your hypoglycemic episode or even any medical condition to DMV to suspend your driver license. Ask your doctor these questions first. If they report you to DMV, the Kaiser would expect that your drop from Kaiser health insurance enrollment because Kaiser considered you as a high risk patient. California DMV examiners would give you a hell to get passing score of 85. Remember, ask your doctor if s/he would report you to DMV even you tell this “BAD” doctor that you feel tired even not low blood sugar, then s/he might report you to DMV to take your driver licenses away. I met three such doctors, two from Kaiser - I never driving under low blood glucose, and they would report you to DMV.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #12

You are very welcome Loica @Emet.
Really happy that my tip/suggestion helped you. I occasionally get comments when I’m giving someone a ride and get comments about the used check strips in the console cupholder.

I’ve been offering my “little bits” of information and telling about my experiences for a while and now you have given me encouragement to continue - at least one person helped. Your mention of your daughter thinking you were “losing my mind” reminded me of our granddaughter when she was about 7 and I had a “low” [I don’t know how low] and was acting strange. We had been running around for a while and swimming; getting out of the pool, I couldn’t figure out how to reattach my pump so she took it from me and made me drink orange juice.
Next thing I remember was an EMS Paramedic standing over me and asking “Sarah, how much juice did you give him”. She replied two and I said it looks like she added sugar [the 8 oz. glass was kind of coated] and in answer to the question “how much sugar” she replied LOTS!. Checking my blood, the medic got a 40 something.
Sometime after fifty years living with insulin injections I began to lode my ability to recognize when my BG was dropping. Just recently I began using a CGM and its biggest help has been alerting me to suspend my pump and avoid unwanted lows.


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #13

I think the “bottom line” about driving, driving licensing and diabetes is the ability to show that one is responsible and aware. Be ready to ask any authority who denies you a driving license: “Is there any evidence [study] that diabetes is a cause of irresponsible driving?”. I think it can easily be proven that more V-hikkle crashes are CAUSED by people who do NOT have diabetes.
I will next need to renew my driving license on my 80th birthday having lived with diabetes since I was a kid. I have continuously used the same insurance company for my many vehicles since I was licensed to drive in 1957; I will show any authority my insurance policy which [proudly] shows a “Safe Driver Premium Discount”. I’d had diabetes since before I’ve had a driving license.


(Kayla) #14

It varies from state to state and even within the state. I was diagnosed at age 10. When I got my driving permit (in NC) , I had to fill out a packet (doctor notes and documentation) proving I was safe to drive. However, my aunt who was diagnosed as an adult was asked at the DMV (while renewing her license) about being diabetic and if she took insulin. After saying yes, they never required her to fill out anything. I periodically had to fill out this packet which was reviewed by a Medical Board. I moved to KY a little over a year ago. I’ve never been asked about being diabetic.


(Amanda) #15

So it varies from state to state and even within the state?