The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) define two vehicle categories:
Group 1: cars and motorcycles
Group 2: large goods vehicles (LGV) and passenger carrying vehicles (PCV).
When you first apply for your licence, the application form will ask whether you have, or have ever had, any of a number of medical problems, including diabetes. Make sure you answer all the diabetes questions accurately and, if you use insulin, make sure you state that you use insulin to manage your condition.
If you already hold a driving licence when you are diagnosed with insulin-controlled diabetes, you must by law notify the DVLA as soon as possible.
Group 1 vehicles (cars and motorcycles)
You will be able to retain your licence for cars and motorcycles. However, you must stop driving if you:
Group 2 vehicles (large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles): you will not generally be allowed to drive these vehicles.
If you are at all unsure what to do, speak to your diabetes healthcare team and check with the DVLA.
You must notify the DVLA if:
Given their implications for safe driving, it is important that you learn to recognise the symptoms of a hypo and know how to treat them. Ask your diabetes care team for the most up-to-date information, or click here for a simple guide.
You can notify the DVLA of your medical condition by phone, letter or online. Click here to access the DVLA website.
You should tell your driving insurer that you have diabetes. If you do not tell them about your diabetes, it may invalidate your cover in the event of a claim. Failure to notify the DVLA may also invalidate your insurance cover.
It is always worth shopping around for quotes from a number of insurers, as there can be a big difference in premiums. This is particularly important for a young driver, as premiums can be expensive when you first pass your test. Diabetes UK is just one of the organisations that offers motor insurance suitable for people with diabetes.
Here is some useful information on managing your diabetes before, during and after a journey:
Before you have your first driving lesson, tell your driving instructor that you have diabetes. Explain what it means and reassure them that you can manage your diabetes effectively.
Always carry a snack and drink in the car in case you get stuck in traffic. Make sure you take extra liquid with you in hot weather.
Ask your diabetes nurse for an Around U iKyp information card, which you can add your emergency contact details to and carry on you at all times.
If you have a top tip you’d like to share with other readers, send it to us and your tip could appear on this website!