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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Diabetes driving rules reassessed
Driving restrictions apply to some people with diabetes
The Department of Transport is to consider easing driving restrictions on people with type 2 diabetes.

Government scientists found some people with the condition pose less of a danger on the roads than was thought.

People who inject insulin to control their blood sugar level are banned from holding a Group 2 licence, which includes lorries and buses.

This is because a fall in blood sugar can affect eyesight and speed of thought and reaction.

We plan to get the research peer-reviewed to check the validity of the findings as there are potentially serious implications for driving licence entitlement
Stephen Ladyman

In the most severe cases, it can cause a black out.

The latest research found that, in the short term, people who used insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels were no more likely to suffer problems than people with type 2 diabetes who use tablets to control their condition.

However, once insulin injections were used over a longer period the frequency of problems began to rise.

Checks required

Road Safety Minister Stephen Ladyman said the government would review the research before considering a change to the law.

He said: "This is interesting research which we will need to consider carefully.

"We plan to get the research peer-reviewed to check the validity of the findings as there are potentially serious implications for driving licence entitlement.

"As a result of that review, we will assess whether any changes to licence restrictions may be necessary."

The charity Diabetes UK said it was opposed to a blanket ban on all people who used insulin injections.

A spokesman said it was hoped that the latest research would lead to a new system, where people who used insulin injections were assessed on a regular basis to determine their fitness to drive.

The spokesman said: "Diabetes UK will be monitoring this situation closely and will be working with the Department for Transport to ensure a fair deal for people with diabetes."

The results of the research will be considered by the Secretary of State's Medical Advisory Panel on Diabetes and Driving.

A European Commission medical expert group, which has been considering the minimum medical standards for diabetes and driving, is also due to report shortly.

The UK expert group is likely to wait for the results of this investigation before making any recommendation.

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