Keighley woman lost driving licence due to being a diabetic

Mags Dearden

Mags Dearden

First published in News by

Diabetics are needlessly losing their driving licences because of a change to an official form, claims an Oakworth physiotherapist.

Mags Dearden said diabetics such as herself were no longer given space to explain the reasons why they have suffered a hypoglycaemic attack – caused by low blood sugar level.

She said this has led to the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency banning people from driving even when they posed no danger to road users.

She is now campaigning for changes to the form so it only penalises diabetes sufferers who really would not be safe on the roads.

Mrs Dearden lost her licence last year after suffering two night-time “hypos” caused by her insulin pump malfunctioning while she was on holiday.

She fell foul of an EC directive that means people can have their licence revoked if they report two hypos in 12 months.

Mrs Dearden said her hypos happened while she was asleep – in no way affecting her driving ability – and she had stayed out of the driving seat following the incidents to avoid any potential for danger.

Mrs Dearden said the DVLA form, revised as a result of the EC directive, did not allow people to state such mitigating circumstances.

She said: “Diabetes isn’t so black and white. The questions offer no room for explanation. Occasionally severe hypos occur for perfectly valid reasons.

“Nocturnal hypos have never affected my ability to drive, and I am always aware during waking hours of when my blood sugar is getting low.”

After taking up her plight with Keighley MP Kris Hopkins and the charity Diabetes UK, Mrs Dearden has been given permission to reapply for her driving licence.

Mrs Dearden has been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 29 years, and said she had driven for many years without incident.

Diabetes UK said it was consulting with the DVLA about the forms.

A Diabetes UK spokesman said the EC directive meant people with diabetes who reported two “severe” hypos in a 12-month period could have their group one driving licence revoked.

She said: “Diabetes UK has expressed concerns that this is open to misinterpretation as people can often experience hypos when asleep.

“In the past only hypoglycaemia occurring in waking hours was taken into consideration.”

Mr Hopkins said he had approached Mike Penning, the minister responsible for the DVLA, on Mrs Dearden’s behalf.

He was told that the DVLA’s medical advisor had reviewed the case and she had been invited to reapply.

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