Driving With Insulin-Treated Diabetes

Driving with insulin-treated diabetes


I. Highlights

There is considerable evidence and arguments supporting the position that drivers with insulin-treated diabetes should be allowed to acquire commercial driver's licenses for intrastate purposes, including the:

(1) Inconclusiveness and inability of studies and reports conducted thus far to convincingly prove that all drivers with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) should not be allowed to acquire commercial driver's licenses;

(2) Unremarkable risk associated with ITDM drivers when compared with other categories of driving risks and the driving public-at-large;

(3) Equal employment opportunity considerations of ITDM drivers raised by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission;

(4) Experiences of other states and federal agencies that accommodate ITDM drivers; and

(5) Recent improvements in the medical treatment and care of diabetics.


II. Anticipated Questions

Q1. What is wrong with prohibiting drivers with insulin-treated diabetes from acquiring commercial driver's licenses?

A1. A blanket ban against drivers who need insulin may force such drivers to avoid medical attention rather than admit to their diabetes and risk losing their commercial driver's license. We believe a thorough monitoring program developed by a Blue Ribbon Committee of experts and concerned citizens will reduce the overall risk to the public of drivers suffering a hypoglycemic attack while driving. There is also a legal concern raised by the American with Disabilities Act that such drivers should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Q2. Is it safe to allow commercially licensed drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to drive on Hawaii's streets?

A2. That is a difficult question to answer categorically one way or the other because so much depends on how well the State regulates such drivers. If the regulations are strictly enforced and drivers thoroughly monitored to insure compliance with safe driving standards, then Hawaii's streets and highways will be safer for the driving public.

Q3. What happens if a driver suffers a diabetic hypoglycemic attack while driving? Isn't that dangerous?

A3. Yes, it is dangerous. But that is why it is so important that state regulations screen-out diabetic drivers who are at a greater risk of suffering hypoglycemic attacks and carefully monitor and regulate diabetic drivers that are better able to adjust to the demands of a commercial license.