Vehicles You Can Drive

Driving and Diabetes

Driving and the EU law
News release: EU changes night-time hypos driving rules for people with diabetes
Driving and hypoglycaemia – what are doctors being advised to do?
Test Strips – Department Of Health Warning For Doctors And Pharmacists
Vehicles You Can Drive
Insulin and Driving Taxis
Hypoglycaemia and Driving
Driving and Medicines
Driving and Visual Field Loss


Living with Diabetes

Vehicles You Can Drive

On January 1st 1998, driving restrictions came into force in the UK to bring the UK in line with the other European countries.
People with insulin-treated diabetes have medically restricted driving licences issued for a maximum of 3 years. Diabetes is NOT specifically singled out – the regulations apply [i] to all conditions which require a medically restricted licence and [ii] to everyone applying for a licence for the first time whether young or old, with a normal licence or a restricted licence.

You ARE able to:

  • Drive a car or vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes with a trailer.
  • Tow a caravan, boat, horse box or broken-down vehicle.
  • Drive a minibus of less than 9 seats.
  • If you drive a non-commercial minibus on a voluntary unpaid basis you can apply for a special licence. This is bit complex and you can obtain information from the DVLA Swansea, Fact Sheet INF 28.

Driving a mini-bus
For many people there has always been some confusion over the DVLA regulations for driving a mini-bus.
You may be able to drive a mini-bus if you hold a car licence and follow certain conditions. Your driving licence will tell you what vehicles you can drive.  The DVLA states that you may be able to drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats using your current car driving licence as long as it’s not for ‘hire or reward’ – there is no payment from or on behalf of the passengers.

The conditions you must meet:

  • you’re 21 or older
  • the minibus is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body
  • you’ve had your driving licence for at least 2 years
  • you meet the Group 2’ medical standards if you’re over 70 – check with your GP if you’re not sure you meet the standards
  • you’re driving on a voluntary basis and the minibus is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body
  • the maximum weight of the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes – or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passengers, eg a wheelchair ramp
  • you’re not towing a trailer.

Minibus permit – if you need to charge running costs

You can apply for a minibus permit if you need to charge passengers, as long as:

  • the vehicle can carry between 9 and 16 passengers
  • you’re driving it for a voluntary organisation that benefits the community – eg an educational, religious or sports organisation
  • the minibus service is only available for members of that organisation – not to the general public
  • any charges are to cover running costs and are not for profit

Apply for a minibus permit from your local authority, or contact DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency).

No blanket ban on driving 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes vehicles or for LGV drivers
There is no longer a blanket ban on driving these vehicles but people will be assessed on a individual basis. This includes the following:

  • The applicant needs to satisfy the DVLA that since commencing treatment with insulin ‘he has had sufficient experience in the driving of vehicles to make practicable an assessment of the risk posed by his driving vehicles in those classes.’ The qualifying condition for this purpose was set to require that the applicant has driven at least 4 hours a day 3 days a week during the 12 month period prior to the application.
  • Applicants must have had no hypoglycaemia attacks while driving.
  • They must undergo an annual examination by a diabetes specialist to enable the DVLA to assess that their diabetes is adequately controlled.
  • They must regularly monitor their condition and at least 2 months records will be required.

HGV licence applications process improved by the DVLA (2015)
The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has made some improvements in the way people treated with insulin apply for their annual renewal to drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. This is to reduce the unreasonable delays people have been experiencing when renewing their licences.

  • The DVLA Drivers Medical Group has increased capacity to assess applications from people with diabetes.
  • The application form (D4) is being simplified so that it is easier to complete and will reduce the number of rejected applications.
  • The response time will be speeded up for any vocational drivers chasing up the whereabouts of their First Vocational Licence Application with the DVLA Contact Centre.

There are also plans to improve the whole process which includes:

  • Updating all DVLA literature to advise drivers not to send in their driving licence when applying for a renewal.
  • Changing legislation to allow drivers to apply for their licence 90 days before it is due to expire.
  • Recruiting and training more staff and medical professionals.

You can contact the DVLA Contact Centre about Vocational Medical Enquiries on 0300  790 6806