Editorial: Easing burden on diabetic [school bus] drivers
Editorial: Easing burden on diabetic drivers
STATE law now prohibits diabetic people who inject insulin to control their disease from driving school buses. The House of Delegates unanimously agreed to repeal that restriction.
It does seem to be an archaic restriction. If medical doctors agree, state senators should have no problem approving this and Gov. Joe Manchin should sign it into law.
Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee, and Delegate Larry Borders, R-Wood, co-sponsored the legislation.
"The current law is an artifact from back in the day when people couldn't control diabetes," Perdue said. "Management of diabetes is much more profound that it was 20 years ago. This is a rule that's fairly old and Larry (Border) felt it had negative effects on those wanting to be bus drivers."
One oddity in the law, he said, is that diabetic people who take oral medications are not restricted while those who still take the shots are.
That does not seem to make much sense.
Federal law, though, keeps a commercial driver's license away from people with diabetes mellitus, which requires insulin for control.
There is an exemption for drivers who operate vehicles within a state.
Ben Shew, transportation director for the state Department of Education, said if the bill becomes law, there may still be a Catch-22.
His department would update its policy and then determine what other hurdles insulin-dependent applicants would face to comply with the federal guidelines.
"This wouldn't be just an across-the-board OK," Shew said of the bill.
"They would still need to meet federal CDL rules."
Still, this would be one less hurdle for diabetic school bus drivers. Given the changes in treatment for diabetes over the years, a change in the law restricting diabetic drivers seems appropriate.
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