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June 14, 2010

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Question from Jacksonville, Florida, USA:

My son, who is about to turn 15, has had type 1 since age 2. He is getting ready to get his driver's license. Are there any laws or guidelines or recommendations for teens with type 1 who are driving? Another 16-year-old in our community was driving and had a severe low and was killed in an automobile accident a few years back.

Answer:

Several studies have shown that drivers with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of automobile accidents. Two recent studies (December 2009) are particularly noteworthy:
In Motor vehicle crashes in diabetic patients with tight glycemic control: a population-based case control analysis, researchers found that ��tighter glycemic control, as measured by the HbA1c, is associated with an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash.”
In Driving Mishaps Among Individuals With Type 1 Diabetes, researchers concluded �Many individuals with type 1 diabetes report hypoglycemia-related driving events. Clinicians should explore the recent experiences with hypoglycemia while driving and the risk of future events.”

Everyone who drives with type 1 diabetes should check their blood glucose level before driving — every single time. Continuous glucose sensors offer a potential benefit for drivers, since the sensor can alert to an impending low blood sugar in time to allow the driver to pull over and treat.

JSH