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Diabetic Driving in Virginia

Posted: Updated: May 11, 2017 10:12 AM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Driving slow, aggressively, or even swerving between lanes often appears to be drunk driving.

However, it could actually be a driver battling a medical emergency.

People with diabetes require constant care to keep blood sugars in a healthy range to perform day-to-day activities like driving.

“The early symptoms of a low-blood sugar reaction are sweating and clamminess, and a heartbeat that's fast. It can manifest differently in different people, but it can progress if ignored to complete confusion, perhaps seizures, loss of consciousness,” said diabetes educator and nurse Shirley Fleishmann.

If a person is at fault in an accident due to a diabetic emergency, in Virginia, that person loses the right to drive

“In the case of the patient who has loss consciousness behind the wheel, they would need to work with their doctor over a six-month period. We would suspend their privilege to drive during that period of time,” said Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson Brandy Brubaker.

The driver will need to work with doctors and submit verifiable reports to a medical review team until the DMV rules their condition to be under control.

“If they don't experience another loss of consciousness during that time, and everything checks out and they're healthy - which is what we hope happens - then we can get them back on the road, and we'll monitor them over the next two years generally, and make sure that there's no other incidents,” Brubaker said.

Technology has advanced so much that today many people with diabetes are able to wear sensors that use Bluetooth technology to give constant blood sugar readings. That helps people know when it’s safe to drive...and, when extra precautions should be taken.

People with diabetes drive safely every day with proper care.