In Blog, Diabetes Matters, Health, Healthy Hints and Hacks

The Diabetes WA Helpline provides free comprehensive access to personalised diabetes management advice and support from a Credentialed Diabetes Educator. Meet our educators as they share some of the common concerns they hear from our members.

Christine Carne

Christine Carne (Christy) is a credentialed diabetes nurse educator who has worked in the diabetes field for more than 20 years in various roles including diabetes research, children’s diabetes and community diabetes education. For the past seven years she has been employed at Diabetes WA in clinical, telehealth and community education roles.

Christy’s passion is to assist people living in regional and remote WA being a country girl at heart herself. After spending two years establishing the Diabetes Telehealth Service for regional WA, she is now focussed on providing her expertise on the Diabetes WA Helpline. She says empowering people with diabetes, their family, and carers to troubleshoot and self-manage their health via the helpline is especially rewarding.

Why do I need to report my diabetes to the Government of Western Australia Department of Transport (DoT) for my driver’s licence?

Driving is a complex skill, both physically and mentally, and if you have diabetes, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure road safety for yourself and others. By law all drivers in WA are required to notify the DoT of any permanent or long-term mental or physical health conditions or treatments that may impair their ability to drive a motor vehicle. These are referred to as reportable medical conditions. Reporting any medical condition to DoT means you are helping to keep our roads safer, as well as avoiding potential fines and insurance implications! The DoT also needs to be updated if or when there is a change in the previously notified condition or treatment.

Diabetes is one such reportable long-term condition that may affect your ability to drive, either due to having:

  • hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels less than 4 mmol/L) or hypo-unawareness (not experiencing symptoms of low blood glucose levels)
  • diabetes complications involving the eyes (changes in vision), feet (nerve damage) or heart (changes to heart rate, blood pressure etc.)

Reporting a medical condition only takes a few moments and can be done online by visiting the DoT website and completing the ‘Report a Medical Condition’ form (‘Notification of Driving Impairment’ forms are also available at licensing centres or authorised agents). Once the DoT has received your notification they will inform you on what action, if any is required next.

If your diabetes is managed by diet and exercise alone, you may be able to drive without any licence restrictions. However, you are still required to have regular reviews with your treating doctor to track any progression of your diabetes.

If your diabetes is managed by certain glucose lowering medication, insulin or if you have a commercial licence, you may be required to undergo a medical review to assess your ‘Fitness to Drive’. These assessments may need to be repeated every one to five years. A ‘Fitness to Drive Declaration’ is usually sent to you from DoT approximately 12 weeks prior to the expiry of your licence. This is to make sure that your driving ability is not impaired, which keeps you and other road users safe.

Most people with diabetes can make an appointment with their GP to have their ‘Fitness to Drive” medical assessment completed and lodged electronically. Some people however may require a referral from a GP to an endocrinologist or consultant physician specialising in diabetes to conduct this assessment and review diabetes management.

Sometimes accessing a diabetes specialist in a timely manner can be difficult, due to waitlists, lack of appointment availability and associated costs (if seeing a private specialist). People with diabetes on multiple medications or those with commercial driver’s licences are encouraged to have a current referral to a diabetes specialist from their GP. This may require advanced planning!

Diabetes Australia and the NDSS have provided simple tips to support safe driving in the ‘Diabetes and Driving’ booklet, available from the NDSS website.

Our helpline is available to anyone living in WA for the cost of a local call. Contact us on 1300 001 880 or email [email protected] for further information. People living with diabetes in regional WA can also access our diabetes health professionals including an endocrinologist via the Diabetes Telehealth Service.

 

 

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