driving & Diabetes

A study which recruited 1,768 US drivers with type 1 diabetes via online registration has resulted in a 53 % reduction in driving mishaps amongst the participants.

Each participant completed a questionnaire called the Risk Assessment for Diabetic Drivers (RADD) and, from this, each of the drivers were given a risk score. Drivers were asked to keep a monthly online driving diary for the course of a year.

Out of the 501 participants, 379 drivers were deemed to be high risk and 122 drivers deemed to be low risk. The researchers then used the online driving diaries to record the number of driving mishaps which included severe hypos when driving, losing control of the car, any collisions and having someone else take control of the vehicle.

When the researchers compared results between the low and high risk groups, they found that individuals which received a high risk score had 258% more driving mishaps than those with a low risk score. The results showed that the low risk individuals had between 2 and 3 mishaps through the year whilst the high risk participants had between 6 and 7 mishaps.

The next part of the study involved only the 379 high risk drivers who were randomly allocated to one of three groups. One group was given access to the diabetesdriving.com web tool and received motivational interviews, another group had access to diabetesdriving.com but not the interviews and the third group had access to neither and therefore served as a control group.

The three groups continued to record their driving experiences over the next 12 months and the researchers again analysed the number of driving mishaps that took place. The study results showed that the online tool made a significant difference. Whilst the high risk controls continued to experience between 6 and 7 driving mishaps per year, the high risk drivers that had access to the online tool experienced between 3 and 4 mishaps per year which represented a 53% decrease in mishaps.

The results showed that the online tool reduced mishaps in both groups that had access and that there were no significant differences in the number of mishaps between the group that received motivational interviews and the group that did not.

It is important for people with diabetes in Ireland, whether they have Type 1 or 2 Diabetes to be aware of the Road Safety Authority Guidelines which provide guidelines to health care professionals in relation to medical fitness to drive. Please click here to view these guidelines