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Drivers License & Pilot License Article Archives

December 2012

Behind the Wheel, But Still in Control

Last May, 24-year-old Charlie Kimball was in Car #35, taking Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Firestone Freedom 100. He was in radio contact with his pit crew, who informed him that he had a headwind coming out of the turn and onto the 5/8 mile "straight." Charlie kept an eye on the car next to him, moving closer and beginning to crowd it on the inside. Having raced professionally for six years, he knew that he had to make a move, and soon. He shifted into sixth gear and accelerated.

comments 1 comment - Posted Dec 4, 2012

April 2012

Driving Safely With Type 1 Diabetes

Research has shown that a few people with Type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk for having traffic accidents due to low blood sugars.  
Possibly, we can help the diabetes community. 
Researchers at the University of Virginia are conducting a study evaluating internet tools designed to:
• • Anonymously assess risk for ALL drivers with Type 1 diabetes of being in an accident and 
• • Potentially help reduce the chance of high-risk drivers being in a future collision.

comments 1 comment - Posted Apr 21, 2012

August 2009

Behind the Wheel, But Still in Control

Last May, 24-year-old Charlie Kimball was in Car #35, taking Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Firestone Freedom 100. He was in radio contact with his pit crew, who informed him that he had a headwind coming out of the turn and onto the 5/8 mile "straight." Charlie kept an eye on the car next to him, moving closer and beginning to crowd it on the inside. Having raced professionally for six years, he knew that he had to make a move, and soon.  He shifted into sixth gear and accelerated.

comments 2 comments - Posted Aug 8, 2009

November 2008

Diabetes and the Open Road—Are You Driving While Low?
Diabetes and the Open Road—Are You Driving While Low?

A study published in the August 25 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that people with type 1 diabetes "may not judge correctly when their blood sugar levels are too low and may consider driving with a low BG." In the study, "low" was defined as less than 70 mg/dl.

comments 15 comments - Posted Nov 10, 2008

June 2008

Flying on Insulin

Every pilot’s nightmare is the thought of losing his medical certification and being stopped from flying. That happened to me in May of 1986, when I was diagnosed with type 1. In accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices, Canada, along with every other country in the world, would not allow insulin-dependent pilots to hold any type of pilot’s license. My short eight-year career with Air Canada came to an abrupt end, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I would never be allowed to fly an aircraft again.

comments 9 comments - Posted Jun 26, 2008

September 2007

Spend Seven Minutes to Improve Driving Safety
Spend Seven Minutes to Improve Driving Safety

Researchers from the University of Virginia, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, are conducting a study on driving safety with regard to people with type 1 diabetes, and they need your help.

comments 0 comments - Posted Sep 11, 2007

September 2006

DUI or Diabetes?
DUI or Diabetes?

Was that person arrested for drunk driving truly under the influence of alcohol—or could it be that he was simply a diabetic having a low? The similarity in symptoms caused by alcohol intoxication and low blood glucose levels is striking and commonly leads to easy—but false—conclusions by law enforcement officers.

comments 5 comments - Posted Sep 1, 2006

October 2002

Are People With Diabetes Treated Like Criminals?

Telling the world you have diabetes is not the easiest proposition. Coming "out of the closet," so to speak, could bring support or condemnation from others.

comments 2 comments - Posted Oct 1, 2002

March 2002

Reach For The Sky

Living with diabetes means living in a world of limitations—some imposed by society and some by the disease itself. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 5, I've spent the last 35 years trying to break free of those limitations.

comments 0 comments - Posted Mar 1, 2002

January 2002

Diabetes and the DMV

As a trial lawyer in California who has type 1 diabetes, I have represented more than two dozen people with diabetes whose driver's licenses were suspended by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). While all of my clients eventually had their licenses returned, they all suffered emotionally and financially while inadequately trained and overworked DMV hearing officers delayed and denied the return of their driving rights for weeks or months at a time.

comments 10 comments - Posted Jan 1, 2002

September 2000

Driving and Diabetes Commercial Drivers on Oral Meds Found to Have Increased Crash Risk

As blanket bans on commercial driving licenses for people with diabetes come under increasing fire, a new study leaves the debate on safety at a crossroads.

comments 1 comment - Posted Sep 1, 2000

October 1999

Diabetes and Driving Responsibilities

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Bell v. Burson that driving is an "important interest" that may not be taken away from a licensed driver without a government agency's providing procedural due process.

comments 3 comments - Posted Oct 1, 1999

August 1998

Hypo Hazards: How Tom Moore Nearly Lost His Life on the Way Home from Dinner

For a person with diabetes the prospect of going into a hypo while driving is frightening at the least. On the evening of June 12, this is exactly what happened to 34-year-old Virginia resident Tom Moore, who was plunged into a bizarre series of events as a result.

comments 0 comments - Posted Aug 1, 1998

February 1997

Insulin Dependent Pilots Fly Free

Insulin dependent pilots are now free to fly anywhere they choose in the United States. Due to increased pressure from the American Diabetes Association, a 37-year blanket ban against pilots with insulin-treated diabetes has been lifted by the Federal Aviation Association(FAA).

comments 0 comments - Posted Feb 1, 1997

June 1996

Diabetic’s Fight for Right to Drive—Doctors Must Report Serious Hypo to Authorities

Dr. Arthur Neumann, a retired physician, has lived with diabetes since 1951. He awoke at 4:00 a.m. one morning suffering from a severe hypoglycemic attack and within minutes blacked out. Luckily, his companion was there to inject him with a shot of glucagon-a solution which raises blood sugar by forcing the liver to release stored glucose. Naturally, Neumann reported the incident to his doctor.

comments 2 comments - Posted Jun 1, 1996

February 1994

Medical Prerequisites for an FHWA Waiver

The American Diabetes Association has suggested a series of medical prerequisites for all commercial vehicle waiver applicants. The prerequisites are intended to ensure that people with diabetes who are issued waivers "will not be contrary to public interest and will be consistent with the safe operation of commercial vehicles." The conditions, listed below, focus on applicants' ability to prove they do not suffer from severe hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic unawareness, or retinopathy, and to demonstrate their willingness and capability to properly monitor and manage their disease.

comments 0 comments - Posted Feb 1, 1994

June 1993

Are You A Good Driver?

In contrast to European governments, which have progressively restricted driving permits for individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes, the United States has been far more liberal in its restrictions. In an attempt to determine the decline in driving capability by insulin dependent adults experiencing hypoglycemia, the University of Virginia's General Clinical Research Center conducted a study of twenty five adults, measuring both their driving performance as well as their awareness of their driving performance during and after artificially-induced episodes of hypoglycemia. The study participants were infused with intravenous regular insulin, administered to produce mild and moderate hypoglycemic reactions, while they drove high-tech driving simulators. Immediately before and after each test, the participants were asked: "Would you choose to drive right now? Yes/No." The participants were kept shielded from their blood glucose levels throughout the tests.

comments 0 comments - Posted Jun 1, 1993

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