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People with diabetes (PWD) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)


Diabetes treated by diet

Car or motorbike licence, bus, coach or lorry licence

  • No need to inform DVLA
  • leaflet INF188/2 provides information about driving with diabetes treated by changes in diet


Diabetes treated by tablets or non-insulin injections

Car or motorbike licence (Group 1)

  • leaflet INF188/2 provides information about driving with diabetes treated with non-insulin medication, diet or both

Bus, coach or lorry licence (Group 2)

  • PWD must tell DVLA if your diabetes is treated by tablets or non-insulin injections
  • Complete form VDIAB1SG if diabetes is treated by sulphonylurea or glinide tablets
  • Complete form VDIAB1GEN if diabetes is treated by any other tablets or non-insulin injections
  • Send the form to DVLA. The address is on the form.


Diabetes treated with insulin


Car or motorbike licence (Group 1)


PWD must inform the DVLA if diabetes is treated with insulin:

  • if insulin treatment lasts (or will last) over 3 months
  • in gestational diabetes if insulin treatment lasts over 3 months after the birth
  • if there is disabling hypoglycaemia
  • Form DIAB1 should be completed and sent to DVLA, online resource available
  • leaflet INF294 provides information about driving a car or motorbike with diabetes


Bus, coach or lorry licence (Group 2)

PWD treated with insulin must inform the DVLA

  • An annual individual independent medical assessment can be carried out to assess fitness to drive Group 2 vehicles. At the time of this examination, the consultant will need to review 3 months glucose results from a downloadable glucose meter
  • Form VDIAB1I should be completed and sent to DVLA, online resource available
  • Complete leaflet INS186  to apply for vocational entitlement to drive larger vehicles (C1, C1E, D1, DIE, C, CE, D or DE)



Glucose Monitoring


Glucose monitoring is essential before and during journeys mainly to identify the risk of hypoglycaemia and to evidence safe practice. Blood glucose meters and interstitial systems are used by PWD to monitor glucose levels.


Group 1 vehicle drivers

If PWD is using interstitial fluid glucose monitoring system (Flash Glucose Monitoring or Real Time Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems) a meter must be available to check and confirm the blood glucose level confirmed with a finger prick blood glucose reading in the following circumstances:

  •   the glucose level is 4.0 mmol/L or below
  •   symptoms of hypoglycaemia
  •   the glucose monitoring system gives a reading that is not consistent with the symptoms being experienced (e.g. symptoms of hypoglycaemia)
  •   see the INF294 leaflet for further details


Group 2 vehicle drivers

There is a legal requirement for Group 2 drivers to monitor their blood glucose using a downloadable meter for 3 month data review.

Flash Glucose Monitoring and RT-CGM interstitial fluid glucose monitoring systems are not permitted for the purposes of Group 2 driving and licensing.





In people who are treated with insulin or sulphonylurea drugs, the main potential danger of diabetes and driving is the possibility of hypoglycaemia.


If a PWD has more than one severe hypo while awake in a 12-month period, they must stop driving and inform the DVLA. The driving licence will be revoked. The licence can be reapplied for in 3 months after the date of the last episode of severe hypoglycaemia (i.e. hypoglycaemia requiring the assistance of another person).


In order to reduce the risk associated with hypoglycaemia the following advice should be provided:

  • Check glucose before driving
  • Do not drive for more than 2 hours without checking glucose level
  • If glucose level is less than 5 mmol/L have a small complex carbohydrate snack
  • Carry identification and information regarding diabetes treatment
  • Always carry fast acting e.g. glucose tablets or glucose (full sugar) drink and complex carbohydrate food e.g. a cereal bar or biscuit in the vehicle


In the event of symptoms of hypoglycaemia advise PWD to:

  • Stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so
  • Switch off the car engine
  • Remove the ignition key
  • Immediately take a glucose drink or glucose tablets
  • Move to passenger seat
  • Check glucose level
  • Consume complex carbohydrate
  • NOT to drive for at least 45 minutes after glucose levels have been corrected and the person feels well and alert - studies have shown that cognitive function does not recover fully until this time
  • Avoid alcohol as per legal requirement for driving
  • Be aware that drivers treated with insulin and/or sulphonyureas who have an accident attributable to hypoglycaemia may be charged for driving under the influence of drugs


Further information 


 Visual Standards


Visual standards relating to driving are those applied generally. The PWD should be able to read a number plate (7.9cm) at a distance of 20 metres and have a visual field of at least 120 in the horizontal axis and at least 20 in the vertical axis. This approximates to an equivalent Snellen Chart corrected acuity of 6/12. If in doubt, refer to the Ophthalmology Clinic requesting formal assessment.


Car or motorbike licence (Group 1)

  • PWD must tell DVLA if they have had treatment for diabetic retinopathy in both eyes or your functioning eye if you only have sight in one
  • Complete form DIAB1 and send it to DVLA.
  •  PWD do not need to tell DVLA if they have, or have had, diabetic retinopathy in one eye and you still meet the ‘visual standards for driving’


Bus, coach or lorry licence (Group 2)


PWD must tell DVLA if they have or have had diabetic retinopathy in one or both eyes

  • The form you must fill in depends on whether diabetes is treated by:



Driving after Instillation of Tropicamide Drops


PWD should be advised not to drive for a minimum of 4 hours after instillation of tropicamide drops due to a reduction in visual acuity following pupillary dilatation. This advice applies regardless of weather conditions and sunglasses will not improve the situation.


Driving and medical conditions information


Car Insurance


PWD must inform their car insurance company at the time of diagnosis and at the start of a new policy. This is required whether treated with diet only, tablets, non- insulin injectables or insulin.




Taxi Licence


Local councils issue licences for taxis and minicabs. Their policies may vary throughout the UK and it is best to check with individual councils for further information.



Contacting DVLA

DVLA customer telephone contact service number: 0870 174 7001


Drivers Medical Group, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1TU


Tel: 0300 790 6806 between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday, and between 8am and 2pm on Saturdays. Hearing or speech difficulties, contact by textphone on 0300 123 1278 (this number will not respond to an ordinary phone).


Resources for PWD


Diabetes UK Scotland Careline, Tel no: 0141 212 8710

The Diabetes UK Helpline : or call 0345 123 2399