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Can You Drive A HGV With Type 1 Diabetes?

The transport business continues to expand, and due to that expansion, HGV drivers are very much in demand. This is a great career choice with plenty of opportunities. However, if you have type 1 diabetes, can you get a licence to drive an HGV?

The simple answer is yes, But—yes, there is a but—you have to fulfil certain conditions laid down by the DVLA, the UK Government and European Council Directive For Driving Licences. This Directive sets out the rules regarding driving with Type 1 diabetes. The EU minimum medical standard for diabetics on insulin now allows people to drive lorries and buses.

Changes In The Law Affecting Drivers With Type 1 Diabetes

Before 2011 any insulin-treated diabetics could not get a licence to drive buses and wagons. The main concern is not about diabetes but how well people manage to prevent severe hypoglycaemic attacks caused by low blood sugar. 

The medical treatment of diabetes has come a long way since the 2000s, with monitoring of blood sugars and improved medication helping to prevent hypoglycaemic attacks. 

You can now apply for your HGV licence as long as you can show that,

  • No episodes of hypoglycaemia while driving within the last 12 months.
  • Have an assessment with a diabetes consultant at least once a year
  • You regularly test your blood sugar. This is important to take before and when driving.
  • You have had treatment with insulin for at least 4-months
  • Your blood sugar control on insulin must be stable for at least a month.
  • You don’t have any other conditions that would invalidate an application for the licence.
  • You will have to sign a declaration to say you understand the risks of hypoglycaemia.
  • You will report any significant changes in your condition to the DVLA.

Alongside these conditions, you are personally responsible for informing the DVLA you are receiving diabetic treatment, including non-insulin treatments, tablets or injections. If you don’t notify the DVLA, you risk a £1,000 fine.

Rules Particular To HGV Drivers With Type 1 Diabetes

You cannot hide that you have diabetes; at the HGV medical test, you will be tested for diabetes. But as mentioned, if you meet the criteria, you can still go for your HGV licence.

One of the pieces of technology that precipitated the change in driving rules is the Accu-Chek. This portable machine is designed to measure your blood sugar levels. The device can also record all the tests you do, which is so easy. Just a prick of your finger, a drop of blood, and the devices do the rest. Since February 2019, using one of these devices means you can continue driving or take your HGV licence test. If you are treated with insulin, you will have to renew your licence every one, two or three years, depending on your situation.

Precautions You Can Take To Stay Safe Driving With Your Diabetes

  • You need to take a blood sugar test approximately every 2 hours whilst driving.
  • You need to ensure you have treatment on hand for a hypoglycaemic attack for all your journeys.
  • Your blood sugar needs to be above 4 mmol/1 when driving and should have been for the last 45 mins before starting a journey.
  • You need to keep your blood glucose above 5 mmol/l when driving.

Closely monitoring your diabetes makes common sense, especially if you want a career as an HGV driver. With an increasing need for HGV drivers, a well-paid job is just waiting for you. If you have any doubts about your diabetes, give us a call, and we can help with any of your queries regarding an HGV licence.

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Formed in 1986 and a family owned and operated business, L&T provides instruction for anyone wishing to drive a vehicle from C1 (7.5T) to CE (artic) and D1 (Minibus) to D (Coach).

We also train drivers in the transportation of dangerous goods (ADR) and the operation of HIAB plant, Forklift and we are a JAUPT Approved Centre for Driver CPC Periodic Training.

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