Board wants list of ‘disqualifying’ factors for diabetic drivers

By Mark Schremmer, staff writer

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Medical Review Board suggests that commercial motor vehicle drivers with diabetes can be certified for one year as long as they haven't experienced a "disqualifying" episode.

Details of the board's recommendations regarding drivers who are being treated for diabetes were published in the Federal Register on Friday, Sept. 9. The FMCSA is seeking comments on the board's recommendations. Comments must be received by Nov. 8.

The review board recommended that medical examiners be allowed to certify a driver with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus for up to one year as long as he or she hasn't experienced the following disqualifying factors:

  1. Any episode of severe hypoglycemia within the previous six months;
  2. Blood sugar less than 60 milligrams per deciliter demonstrated in current glucose logs;
  3. Hypoglycemia appearing in the absence of warning symptoms;
  4. An episode of severe hypoglycemia, blood sugar less than 60 mg/dl, or hypoglycemic unawareness within the previous six months; the driver should be medically disqualified and must remain disqualified for at least six months;
  5. Uncontrolled diabetes, as evidenced by Hemoglobin A1c level greater than 10 percent. A driver could be reinstated when HbA1c level is less than or equal to 10 percent;
  6. Stage 3 or 4 diabetic retinopathy; a driver should be permanently disqualified;
  7. Signs of target organ damage; a driver should be disqualified until the matter is resolved by treatment, if possible;
  8. Inadequate record of self-monitoring of blood glucose; a driver should be disqualified for inadequate records until the driver can demonstrate adequate evidence of glucose records (minimum one month).

Comments regarding the recommendation can be submitted on Docket ID FMCSA-2005-23151 by using the website, mail, hand delivery or fax. To mail or hand deliver, the address is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. The fax number is 202-493-2251. LL