Getting a driver's license is an important milestone for a young adult in terms of gaining independence. For young people with diabetes this stage in their life is no different to other people of the same age, but it comes with the added requirement to report their medical condition to the licensing authority and obtain a medical report from their doctor. This has not always been the case; prior to 2008 it was not mandatory for people with certain medical conditions to disclose this to the Department of Transport. The law was changed and now people with a range of different medical conditions must report these before they can obtain a driver's license. Other than diabetes, these include epilepsy, heart disease, neurological disorders, chronic arthritis, sleep disorders, eye disorders and many others, meaning there are many thousands of people of all ages who now need a medical clearance before they can sit or renew their driver's license.
At the PMH diabetes clinic our doctors are often asked to complete the medical report, which most of the time is quite straightforward. It usually takes a little extra time during clinic to complete the paperwork and also provides an opportunity for the diabetes team to offer useful advice and tips for the new driver.
Some key points to consider before getting your learner's permit is to ensure that you are frequently testing your BGL, your overall blood glucose control (HbA1c) is reasonable and that you have an awareness of your hypo warning signs. The Australian Roads medical driving guidelines suggest an HbA1c of less than 9% in order to get your medical clearance and this is usually the level that our doctors use. If you are almost 16 yrs. of age and are thinking about getting your driver's license, then it's a good idea to keep in mind this HbA1c target. The medical form is usually reviewed every 12 months.