New laws on driving and diabetes will make a big difference in people’s lives – by Laura Carver
After years of campaigning, we’re delighted to announce that the Department for Transport has changed the law around driving and diabetes which will mean fewer people with diabetes will lose their licence unnecessarily.
The changes mean that if you have a night-time hypo when you’re asleep, you no longer risk having your driving licence revoked. For 30-year-old full time mum Laura Carver (pictured), the new ruling is bitter sweet.
In the summer of 2014, I had two severe night-time hypos while asleep. I needed help and an ambulance was called. I mentioned this to my GP during one of my diabetes check-ups and was urged to let the DVLA know.
I didn’t really think it would be an issue so I called the DLVA and an official said it was unlikely that I would have my driving licence revoked.
So when the DVLA form arrived some days later, I filled it out honestly – mentioning that I had two night-time hypos while asleep. But the form didn’t offer any space to explain the context or circumstances. I have extremely good diabetes control during the day and had been driving for almost 10 years without any problems. And I’ve always been a very responsible diabetic.
A couple of days later, a letter from the DVLA arrived stating that my licence had been revoked for 12 months pending a review. I was completely shocked and devastated by the decision. But while I felt the decision was deeply unfair, I decided not to challenge it. There was no guarantee that I would get my licence back before the 12 months were up and I couldn’t face the stress.
Stripped of independence
The loss of my licence had a huge impact on my life. At the time, I worked as a charity fundraiser so had to travel a lot to get to different community events in the Norfolk and Suffolk area.
Thankfully, my employer was supportive. And both of my parents, who are retired, were able to ferry me to and from different events. I was never late or missed a meeting so it didn’t cause too many disruptions. My husband would help out in the evenings and I have a great network of friends who were able to help on the weekends.
But I felt completely stripped of my independence, and dependent on the goodwill of friends and family to get around and do normal things like go food shopping or get to and from appointments. I’m really not sure how I would’ve coped without the support of my friends and family.
There was no guarantee that I would get my licence back so I felt completely overjoyed when it was reinstated 12 months later. I felt like I’d got my life back. But more than three years later, I still feel very upset by what happened. And it’s deeply unfair that so many people with diabetes have needlessly lost their licence in this way. I’m really glad that the law has now changed. This shows that campaigning works. It’s really important that people with diabetes continue to speak up about issues like this that adversely affect their lives. The new law will help to improve the lives of many people with diabetes.
Get more information
- Want to find out how the new rules on night-time hypos might affect you? Go to the Driving and diabetes campaign page
- If you need help getting your driving licence back, we can help you. Find out more on the Diabetes and your rights page
- Keep up-to-date with the latest news on driving and our other campaigns by becoming a Diabetes Voice