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Driving Isn't An Issue for Most People With Diabetes
Date:12/20/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes needn't prevent someone from driving, and only a doctor should decide if complications are severe enough to keep an individual off the road, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says.

In a new position statement published in the January issue of Diabetes Care, the association advises against blanket bans or restrictions. Instead, it recommends that patients who have issues that might pose a driving risk be assessed by a physician who normally cares for people with diabetes.

"There have been inappropriate pushes to try to restrict driving licensure for people with diabetes, and we were concerned that these recommendations were coming from people who didn't really know diabetes, and were unnecessarily restrictive," explained Dr. Daniel Lorber, chair of the writing group that developed the position statement and director of endocrinology at New York Hospital Queens in New York City.

"The vast majority of people with diabetes drive safely," said Lorber. Currently, states have different laws concerning driving and diabetes, and the ADA would prefer to see a standard questionnaire used to assess driving safety.

Nearly 19 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, a disorder involving blood sugar levels. The biggest concern about drivers with diabetes stems from the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can cause confusion and disorientation. While an episode of hypoglycemia can affect driving ability, the ADA says such incidences are rare.

An analysis of 15 previous studies on people with diabetes and driving found that overall, people with diabetes have between a 12 percent and 19 percent increased risk of a motor vehicle accident compared to the general driving population.

But, society tolerates riskier driving situations all the time. A 16-year-old boy has a 42 times hig
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