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Getting tougher on diabetic drivers?

By johnboy - 29 April 2009 12

At the Canberra Times the legal affairs reporter seems to have realised that he needs to go long in the second paragraph if he wants to get any content online.

Today the issue is diabetic drivers with the diabetic Chief Coroner Ron Cahill handing down his findings from the 2003 incident when Michael John Tipping lapsed into a low-blood-sugar episode coma and crashed into Stacey Louise Meas, killing her and her unborn baby.

The ABC informs us of Coroner Cahill’s actual recommendation:

    He recommended the Government consider making insulin-dependent drivers produce a doctor’s certificate annually certifying that their diabetes is under control.

Insulin dependent drivers

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12 Responses to
Getting tougher on diabetic drivers?
monomania 4:55 pm 29 Apr 09

Inappropriate said :

While we’re at it, lets force people to see a doctor every 12 months to get a certificate to say they can handle their grog and won’t act irresponsibly…

It’s hard enough to get in to see the doctor about my liver function tests already.

And how are they going to determine it. Psychological evaluation or by questions.

Question. How many standard drinks do you consume a day,

Answer. Two, but only 4 times a week.      ?

Jim Jones 3:29 pm 29 Apr 09

ant said :

a lot of this comes down to the question: is driving a right, or a privilege?

It’s neither.

Postalgeek 3:23 pm 29 Apr 09

Not just a privilege, but a responsibility. Cars are heavy machinery, plain and simple.

Nevertheless I’d rather they focus on those chatting on mobiles or failing to indicate rather than diabetic drivers.

Reminds me of how the show Last Chance Learners made me wince, trying to get people who were clearly unsuitable for driving on the road. And I don’t think diabetes was the problem.

Thumper 1:02 pm 29 Apr 09

Priviledge, not a right.

ant 12:25 pm 29 Apr 09

a lot of this comes down to the question: is driving a right, or a privilege?

s-s-a 11:59 am 29 Apr 09

People with type 1 diabetes already need to get annual medical clearance to renew their licences and have done for years.

Although the driver in question could have type 2 and use insulin and therefore be at risk of hypos. Does anyone know if these people need medical clearance to drive? Of course they should.

Occasional hypos are an accepted part of good diabetes management. Even with medical clearance to drive, it’s still up to the driver to take responsibility for NOT being behind the wheel when they are hypo – carrying jelly beans or similar and/or checking blood sugar and/or asking someone else to drive.

Inappropriate 11:53 am 29 Apr 09

While we’re at it, lets force people to see a doctor every 12 months to get a certificate to say they can handle their grog and won’t act irresponsibly…

p1 10:19 am 29 Apr 09

Testing a driver for pot, heroin and amphetamine, but letting them go if theyre on valium or anti-psychotics, seems to be in the same way of thinking.

Interesting… P1 pops some valium and runs to the car….

dvaey 10:13 am 29 Apr 09

Danman said :

If you start certifying for diabetes, it should be for a total cleanbill of health, do not discriminate between potential hazardous medical conditions.

This mentality does sound a lot like roadside ‘drug’ testing, where it was decided to test drivers for 3 illegal substances, but ignore drivers on legal (or other illegal but not screened) drugs.

Testing a driver for pot, heroin and amphetamine, but letting them go if theyre on valium or anti-psychotics, seems to be in the same way of thinking. Its easier to work on a knee-jerk reaction than to actually solve the problem generally, or at least, its perceived by the community to be easier.

dvaey 10:08 am 29 Apr 09

Isnt this already in place? My father is Type 1 diabetic and is required to get an annual license renewal, signed by a doctor certifying that he’s allowed to drive. Isnt this the same requirement for all diabetics? Also, AFAIK, this doesnt just apply to diabetics, but also people with cardiac issues, vision issues, or any other condition that affects control of a motor vehicle.

I do agree with p1 that theres any number of people in circumstances who might have issues on the road (alcoholics, elderly), but in the same way as diabetics these people arent necessarily going to cause problems. The problem isnt diabetes, the problem is when its uncontrolled. Maybe we should mandate blood-sugar testing for all license takers, to ensure that no possible diabetics could drive on our roads…. or we could just accept that sometimes accidents happen, and no amount of legislating will change this.

Diabetics have been driving on our roads for many years, yet how often do you hear about stories like this? As the headline on here said a few weeks ago, whats next, outlawing heart attacks?

Danman 10:05 am 29 Apr 09

Diabetic is a vague legal term, theres a world of difference between T1 and T2 diabetics…

A T2 would almost never have a hypoglycemic episode.

I am sure there are 100’s of thousands of people out there with undiagnosed heart and epileptic conditions.

If you start certifying for diabetes, it should be for a total cleanbill of health, do not discriminate between potential hazardous medical conditions.

p1 9:53 am 29 Apr 09

I believe that in a perfect world, people would not drive when potentially impaired by any condition, medical, mental, drug related etc.

If the government wants to try and put into place some sort of system where every single Medicare claim that doctors submit includes a tick box saying Yes/No – this person needs their ability to hold a licence reviewed, and that info gets forwarded to the motor registry, great. But dumping this on diabetics when there are plenty of elderly, long term alcoholics etc, is not going to make me feel safer.

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