April 30, 2014

On April 30, 2014, Ontario’s Ombudsman issued a report on his investigation into how the Ministry of Transportation administers the process for obtaining and assessing information about drivers who may have uncontrolled hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Here is the CDA’s response:

The incident that led to this investigation was tragic and the CDA extends its sympathies to the families of those who were killed. We welcome the investigation into ways to make our roads safer for everyone.

The CDA looks forward to continuing to work with the government and the Ombudsman’s Office to address the issues raised in the report and to ensure that Ontario has a fair and safe vehicle and driver's licensing system.

The Canadian Diabetes Association supports the widespread agreement that most people with diabetes can drive safely. Association guidelines can be found on our website that set out the steps that a person with diabetes should take to manage their diabetes so they drive safely.

Among people with diabetes, the problem arises among those who may drive with uncontrolled hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This affects only a small number of persons with diabetes but is a serious problem for those affected.

People with diabetes who are at risk of hypoglycemia are responsible for monitoring their blood sugar levels and deciding not to drive if they are at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia.

As with many other conditions, including aging, respiratory health, fatigue, drugs and alcohol, as well as sleep and seizure disorders, the driver's licensing system relies on physicians to assess people's medical fitness to drive. We support this approach as the appropriate way to address the matter of drivers with uncontrolled hypoglycemia as well.

We support the role of motor vehicle licensing authorities to require a driver to undergo an individual medical review to confirm her/his ability to drive safely.

People with diabetes need support to live healthy lives to their full potential. The Diabetes Charter for Canada that the CDA recently issued sets out rights and responsibilities for everyone involved in the diabetes community, including those with the disease, governments, health-care providers, and other stakeholders.

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