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driving and the law

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by nanhsot, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. nanhsot

    nanhsot Approved members

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    My son is doing the home study for getting his driver's license (state of Texas), he was told at camp that it was illegal to drive low...and that you MUST disclose your T1 when you get your license.

    Are either of these true, I can't find definitive information and am curious what others experiences or knowledge are on this.

    I've done multiple searches and I find info that says it all IS true, but the manual and official websites do not support this.

    Can anyone clarify what our rights and legal obligations are wrt driving and Type 1, at least in Texas. Particularly if I need to get a letter from the MD before we go to get both the learner's permit and later the actual license.
    Thanks.
     
  2. sarahspins

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    As far as I know, it's not specifically illegal - common sense should dictate that it's a bad idea, but as far as I know, there is no "requirement" not to drive below a certain BG level. In Texas you must disclose insulin usage (the form asks specifically)... and from what I understand, if you use insulin, you must always have some source of fast acting glucose with you, but that is all the state requires.

    I've never been asked anything D-related when I've been pulled over... and there are no restrictions listed on my license (not even for corrective lenses since I can pass the vision test without my glasses on). I've never been pulled over while low or related to a low though - I've only dealt with minor moving violations (like a rolling stop through a stop sign) but nothing major. I've been involved in one minor accident (I rear ended someone after being rear-ended myself.. not exactly my fault) and no one ever asked then either.
     
  3. nanhsot

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    Were you T1 when you got a permit, ever? I'm curious if I should have a form from the MD when we go to get his learner's, stating his BG/insulin use is stable, do you know?

    And on the low thing, we heavily stress testing before driving, lots and lots and lots of education on the dangers of driving low, so no worries there, just didn't see how it was possible to legislate it as illegal to drive at a certain level.
     
  4. Amy C.

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    This is the application to get a driver's license in Texas. http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetForms/Forms/DL-14A.pdf

    On the second page, your son would need to check yes on the questions "Do you have diabetes requiring treatment by insulin?"

    That is the extent. No doctor's note is needed to get the license. There is no law against driving when low -- common sense dictates to not do this, but a statute does not address this at all. Your source for this information was mistaken.
     
  5. deafmack

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  6. Amy C.

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    Wow, that is interesting. I am not sure about the statement that a medical evaluation is required if taking insulin. I will have to check that out with parents of teenager with diabetes who are now driving. My son is 16, but hasn't gotten his permit yet. As he is taking the classroom portion of the driver's training, I may have first hand information very soon.
     
  7. nanhsot

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    Yes, I saw that too, so now I wonder if I should go ahead and get a note from the MD before we go, just to cover in case we have to prove that he's stable.
     
  8. nanhsot

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    I think this answers the question, maybe: (c/p from the website above). Sounds like unless you've had blackouts/loss of consciousness you just check "uses insulin" and that should be it, which is what the prior experience was.

    An individual with diabetes can meet the criteria for referral to the board if an insulin or hypoglycemic reaction, or blackout or loss of consciousness has occurred in the previous 12 months. When a case is referred to the board, the board sends an evaluation form to the individual, which must be completed by his or her physician based on an examination conducted within the last 12 months. The medical evaluation form asks questions about the patient?s diagnosis, the type and dosage or\f insulin or oral medications used, and any instances of coma or shock. Medical evaluation forms are returned to the licensing agency for review and a licensing decision. Periodic follow-up medical evaluations may be required yearly or at each license renewal (5 years).
     
  9. Christopher

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    I understand we need laws in this area, but to me whoever wrote them really does not understand diabetes. Diabetes changes daily and "control" is a constantly moving target. How are we supposed to prove our children are "stable" or "controlled"? For that matter, is there a clear definition of what that means. The link says a medical evaluation is required if the person is taking insulin. So that means all of our children will need an evaluation before getting a license.

    I understand they don't want people passing out while driving a vehicle, but even the most well "controlled" person with diabetes can have a bad low on any given day.
     
  10. Amy C.

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    I checked with a friend whose daughter is driving with Type 1. All she checked was uses insulin. Since the daughter has never blacked out, she could truthfully answer this question:

    Do you currently have or have you ever been diagnosed with or treated for any medical condition that may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?

    with No.
     
  11. Christopher

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    I don't think this is a truthful answer. Diabetes may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Or it may not. If the person is smart they will take the appropriate steps to reduce the risks (testing before they drive, etc.) and things should be fine. But to deny that the risk is there is not being truthful, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  12. MissEmi

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    I just renewed my permit, but when I got it at the end of 2008, I brought a not from my endo, but they did not take it or even look at it. All they need is for you to fill out the form truthfully. I chose yes, I have a condition that could impair driving, but no, I have never seized/passed out or whatever the wording was, because I haven't.
     
  13. emm142

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    Over here things are different, but I'll tell you what we do just because I like the sound of my own voice (text?).

    I originally had to fill in a form which asked if I had any medical conditions, and I said T1D. I then got another form which asked me (from what I remember):

    Do you use insulin or BG lowering medication?
    Yes.

    Have you ever suffered from low blood sugar?
    Yes.

    Are you always aware of a low blood sugar level?
    No.

    Have you ever lost consciousness / had a seizure from low blood sugar?
    No.

    I thought there might be an issue from the hypo unawareness, but there was none. Probably because I'd never passed out / seized from a low. Over here you're not allowed to drive within 6 months (or maybe a year?) of an epileptic seizure, so I assume there might be something similar with diabetes.
     
  14. hawkeyegirl

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    Uh, what? There is no way any Type 1 diabetic could answer that question truthfully with anything but a "yes."
     
  15. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

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    When we moved to IL I believe I had to have a doctors signature to get a driver's license.
     
  16. Barry

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    alex is driving a car registered in my name (therefore the tag also in my name). When I renewed my license, I told DMV that I had type 1 insulin dependent D so if he gets stopped or in an accident, they will know when they run his tag. (although he did get HIS choice of a vanity tag.... "SUG FREE")

    I'd hate to see him get tasered one day on a low thinking he is being non-compliant. Police approach my cars on a stop cautiously (I'm on the 1 ticket a year plan) already because of concealed weapon permits so figured the D thing might make them a little less trigger happy
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  17. maryellen816

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    This from ADA website allows you to search for laws by state.

     
  18. maryellen816

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    The text for Texas from ADA:

    Texas

    Are applicants for a driver?s license asked questions about diabetes?

    Yes. The application form for a new driver?s license or renewal asks whether the applicant has diabetes that is treated by insulin injections or has had a loss of consciousness within the last 12 months. A medical evaluation is required if the applicant is taking insulin, or has had any episode of blackout or loss of consciousness in the previous three years.

    What other ways does the state have to find out about people who may not be able to drive safely because of a medical condition?

    The state accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from: police officers, the courts, physicians, family members, friends, other citizens and hospitals. The licensing agency does accept anonymous reports, but agency personnel may investigate the reports before or after the individual is contacted for an interview, to determine if the medical condition is a concern. Drivers may also be required to have a medical evaluation if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process, or when involved in an accident where investigation suggests that a medical condition may have played a role.

    What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

    When the licensing agency has reason to believe a driver may be medically unsafe, either because the driver gave positive answers to medical questions on the license application or because of a report from one of the other sources listed above, agency employees will investigate the situation to decide whether the case meets criteria for referral to the state?s independent medical advisory board. This investigation may include an interview of the individual to gather more information about any medical conditions. An individual with diabetes can meet the criteria for referral to the board if an insulin or hypoglycemic reaction, or blackout or loss of consciousness has occurred in the previous 12 months. When a case is referred to the board, the board sends an evaluation form to the individual, which must be completed by his or her physician based on an examination conducted within the last 12 months. The medical evaluation form asks questions about the patient?s diagnosis, the type and dosage or\f insulin or oral medications used, and any instances of coma or shock. Medical evaluation forms are returned to the licensing agency for review and a licensing decision. Periodic follow-up medical evaluations may be required yearly or at each license renewal (5 years).

    Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

    Where an individual meets the criteria for referral to the state?s medical advisory board, the board will ask for and review medical information and will make a recommendation based on state guidelines. The licensing agency generally follows the recommendation of the board. In general, the board, not agency personnel, collects and evaluates medical information about drivers.

    Has the state adopted specific policies about whether people with diabetes are allowed to drive?

    Yes. The medical advisory board has adopted guidelines which state that diabetes will not serve as a bar to licensing when it does not require insulin for control. Individuals who use insulin can be licensed if diabetes is well controlled through the use of insulin. The applicant with diabetes mellitus requiring insulin will be individually evaluated as to his or her ability to drive safely. Primary factors in this evaluation include: previous driving history, degree of control achieved, emergency knowledge and preparedness. Individuals with diabetes must also meet the guidelines regarding episodes of loss of consciousness (see below). Newly diagnosed patients or those who have recently changed physicians will be reevaluated in six months. Applicants with diabetes will be monitored periodically to determine degree of control and development of complications.

    What is the state?s policy about episodes of altered consciousness or loss of consciousness that may be due to diabetes?

    For a one year period prior to the issuing of any type of license, the applicant must be free of hyperglycemia and/ or hypoglycemia severe enough to: (1) Cause neurologic dysfunction: confusion, motor dysfunction or loss of consciousness; (2) Result in any type or degree of vehicle accident; or (3) Require active assistance in treatment. This requirement may be waived in extenuating circumstances such as a physician-initiated change in medication or a severe illness. In this case, the license may be issued once the applicant's physician submits a statement that the condition has been stabilized and control has again been achieved.

    What is the process for appealing a decision of the state regarding a driver?s license?

    The notice of revocation advises the driver of the option to request an administrative hearing before a municipal court in the county of residence. If a person desires a hearing, the request must be made in writing and be received by the 15th day after the notice is presumed to have been received (i.e., 5 days from the agency?s letter of intent). Should the court determine to support the revocation, the driver may file a petition to appeal at the local county court.

    May an individual whose license is suspended or denied because of diabetes receive a probationary or restricted license?

    No.

    Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

    Yes, with proper identification and payment of a fee.

    Resources
    Driver licensing in Texas is administered by the state Department of Public Safety.
     
  19. Omo2three

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    This is from the ADA web site:
    for TX

    Are applicants for a driver?s license asked questions about diabetes?
    Yes. The application form for a new driver?s license or renewal asks whether the applicant has diabetes that is treated by insulin injections or has had a loss of consciousness within the last 12 months. A medical evaluation is required if the applicant is taking insulin, or has had any episode of blackout or loss of consciousness in the previous three years.



    Personally, I know of one person who has seizures and is unable to get a drivers license. She is not diabetic.



    And one young lady who is a diabetic, who tests before driving and carries juice or candy just incase...I am not sure if she needed to give a medical evaluation before driving.




     

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