Northern Ireland written question – answered on 11th January 2005.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon Shadow Spokesperson (Women), Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the operation of regulations preventing people with diabetes from holding a driving licence; and whether there are plans to amend these regulations.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 (as amended) prescribes insulin-dependent diabetes as a relevant disability in respect of the issue of Group 2 licences (i.e. those that authorise the driving of passenger carrying vehicles and large goods vehicles).

Subject to certain conditions, a licence authorising the driving of vehicles in categories Cl, Cl+E and Cl+E (8.25 tonnes) (sub-categories of large goods vehicles) may be granted to a person who suffers from insulin dependent diabetes.

A licence authorising the driving of passenger carrying vehicles must not be issued to a person suffering from insulin dependent diabetes.

In deciding medical aspects of fitness to drive a motor vehicle the guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Transport's Honorary Medical Advisory Panel is followed.

The Department for Transport in Great Britain has initiated a programme of research which will help increase knowledge about diabetes and driving and the EC Committee on the Driving Licence has established a working group to look at diabetes and the implications for driving. It is expected to report back to the Driving Licence Committee in spring 2005.

When the results of these initiatives are known, current arrangements will be reviewed.

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