In October 2016, new medical standards came into effect for drivers of both private and commercial vehicles. The new standards are contained in the Austroads document Assessing Fitness to Drive 2016, which replaces the previous standards (Assessing Fitness to Drive 2012).
If you have diabetes, you can hold a driver’s licence or learner permit as long as your diabetes is well managed.
The main concern for licensing authorities is the possibility of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose while driving). Diabetes-related complications like eye problems are also of a concern as it affects your ability to drive safely.
Although there are national ‘Fitness to Drive’ guidelines, all states have slightly different regulations and requirements to assess people with diabetes’ fitness to drive. The guidelines attempt to balance the safety of all road users and any unfairness against people with diabetes.
For more information, refer to your local licensing agency for specific guidelines and the national guidelines for driving.
Obtaining a Licence
If you have diabetes, you need to provide a medical report before a driver’s licence or learner permit can be issued. This report should be from your treating doctor or diabetes specialist stating that a medical examination has been performed and you have been assessed as fit to drive.
Inform the Licensing Authorities
If you develop diabetes you must inform the Driver Licensing Authorities in your state or territory. In most cases if you manage your diabetes by insulin you will require a medical certificate every two years and if you manage it by tablet every five years. If you manage your diabetes by diet and exercise alone you are still required to inform them. If you are required to notify the authorities but don’t, you could be charged with driving offences if you have a driving accident.
Informing Your Motor Vehicle Insurer
If you develop diabetes it is also advisable to inform your motor vehicle insurer.
If you don’t report your diabetes to your motor vehicle insurance company you may have problems with insurance claims.
Diabetes and Driving Resource
Diabetes and Driving provides advice on the extra precautions needed to be taken to help maximise road safety.