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Be above 'blood glucose level 5' to drive

16 September, 2011

Australians with diabetes who are at-risk of experiencing low blood glucose (or hypoglycaemia) should test their blood glucose levels before driving, according to new medical patient education guidelines released by the ADS.

"Driving a vehicle when a hypoglycaemic episode strikes is extremely dangerous. It is the legal responsibility of the person with diabetes to inform their motoring authority that they are taking glucose lowering medication," said Associate Professor Twigg.

While most people will recognise the early warning signs, some people with diabetes experience few or no early warning symptoms before a severe hypoglycaemic attack.

"Some people on insulin treatment, especially those with type 1 diabetes may become confused and lose consciousness without any warning, and this reinforces the need for safety, for the person with diabetes to actually test their blood glucose before driving" said Associate Professor Twigg.

"Although it is the responsibility of the driver, family and friends should keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms that may not be obvious to the driver."

The Information for the person with diabetes recommends carrying sweet food and a blood glucose meter in the vehicle at all times, informing the local driving authority of the condition, regularly reviewing driving fitness and considering the safety of other road users.

Other conditions associated with diabetes that may affect driving include poor eyesight, sleep apnoea, numb or painful feet and legs and heart disease. Each person with diabetes requires driving education by a qualified health care professional.

An individual assessment is also required by a medical doctor/diabetes physician to grade risk and to help ensure that the privilege of driving is also a safe experience for all.

Source: Australian Diabetes Society

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