If your diabetes is treated with insulin or tablets, by law you must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as soon as you can after the diagnosis has been made. You must also inform your insurance company.

You should also inform them if you have had diabetes for some time and are applying for a licence for the first time.

If you are being treated by diet alone for your diabetes, you do not need to inform the DVLA, but you must inform them straight away if you do start to take diabetic tablets or insulin.

If your diabetes is treated with insulin your licence will be restricted to driving vehicles under 3.5 tonnes and with fewer than eight seats. This may have an impact on your work.

You can apply for C1 entitlement to be added to your licence, enabling you to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes. You will need to contact the DVLA for a separate application pack and undergo an individual medical assessment by your consultant.  

You must inform your insurance company when you are diagnosed with diabetes and again if you are commenced on tablets or insulin.

Take the following precautions when driving:

  • Always keep an emergency supply of fast-acting carbohydrate such as Dextrose sweets, Lucozade or sugar within easy reach in the vehicle.
  • Check your blood glucose level before driving (even on short journeys).
  • Carry your glucose meter with you on long journeys and test your blood glucose level every two hours.
  • You must not drive if your blood glucose level is less than 5.0mmol/l if it is take a snack before driving.
  • Take regular meals, snacks and rest periods on long journeys.
  • Carry personal identification indicating that you have diabetes in case of injury in a road traffic accident.
  • Particular care should be taken during changes of insulin regimes, changes of lifestyle, exercise, travel and pregnancy.

The risk of hypoglycaemia is the main hazard to safe driving. This may endanger your own life as well as the life of others.

If you suffer hypo warning signs whilst driving you must follow these steps:

  • Move as safely as possible to the side of the road.
  • Stop the car and remove keys from the ignition.
  • Move to the passenger seat and take a sugary food, e.g. Dextrose sweets, and follow with a starchy snack, e.g. biscuits, sandwich.
  • Resume driving when safe to do so, the DVLA advise not to resume driving until 45 minutes after blood glucose has returned to normal.


  • People who do not have hypo warning signs should not drive, and should inform the DVLA.
  • People with visual impairment should not drive. The DVLA should be informed of any problems that affect your field of vision.
  • The DVLA should also be informed of any condition that affects both eyes or the remaining eye if you only have vision in one eye.
  • You must inform the DVLA if you have a disabling hypoglycaemic attack at the wheel.


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Further information

NHS 111
Tel: 111