People may be particularly concerned about distracted or drunk drivers on the highway. However, diabetic drivers may be an unforeseen danger on the road. Considering that in 2018 there were approximately 40,000 auto accidents, it is crucial to be aware of all safety risks.
Someone with diabetes may not even consider how the condition may impact their driving. Nevertheless, potentially severe consequences may result.
Over 30 million people have diabetes in the United States. They may experience episodes of medical complications, such as hypoglycemia, which create dangerous situations on the road.
Hypoglycemia results from extremely low blood sugar. The symptoms may include blurred vision, confusion, seizures or unconsciousness.
A doctor usually prescribes insulin to manufacture glucose in the body when a person has diabetes. However, this medication may put a person at risk of developing dangerously low blood sugar.
If people take too much insulin, eat too little with their medication or increase activity too rapidly, they are at risk for a severe hypoglycemic episode.
Sometimes people develop hypoglycemia unawareness. This condition means they do not have common warning signs of an attack, such as an irregular heartbeat, sweating or shakiness. The chance of driving while experiencing a severe episode increases if there are no early symptoms.
California has legal restrictions in place to decrease the chances of auto accidents due to a diabetic episode. After a diabetes diagnosis, a person must inform the Department of Motor Vehicles. This process is to ensure the person maintains the physical and mental capacity to drive effectively.
The DMV may require additional vision or knowledge tests to decide on renewing a driver’s license. If a person lost consciousness due to hypoglycemia, a doctor must report it to the authorities. This may result in the DMV requesting a re-examination interview.
If the DMV finds a diabetic person’s severity or frequency of hypoglycemic episodes impedes his or her ability to drive and creates a safety risk, they may suspend or revoke a person’s driver’s license. One does have the option of requesting an evidentiary hearing to attempt to have the decision reversed.