The study goes on to suggest that drivers should measure their blood glucose level and raise potentially low levels prior to driving, should always carry rapid-acting glucose with them, and should obtain diabetes management education – all integral parts of the protocol proposed by FMCSA.
FMCSA Study Provides Key Data
While those opposing lifting the blanket ban are left to base their position on outdated or inapplicable data, the data from A Study of the Risk Associated with the Operation of Commercial Motor Vehicles by Drivers with Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2001) (hereafter, “FMCSA Study”) looked at the applicable population, current drivers with insulin-treated diabetes, doing the applicable task, commercial driving. 12 Using sound principals of statistical analysis the results found no statistical difference in accident rate among drivers with diabetes as compared to the general population. Assessing all available data, the FMCSA Study found "there was no significant difference in the accident rates for ITDM drivers and the comparisons.” The study goes on to note: “A more direct comparison to the [General Estimates System]13 shows that the ITDM group has an accident rate lower than the national rate.”
The bottom line is clear:
The variety of evidence in this study reveals a compelling picture. Almost without exception, all results point to the driving safety of CMV operators with ITDM.
State Experience and Other Waiver Programs Should Not Be Dismissed
Significantly, most of those who oppose ending the blanket ban in interstate commerce do not oppose allowing drivers with insulin-treated diabetes to operate in intrastate commerce. This admission follows from the fact that they are unable to cite any adverse state experiences with intrastate waiver programs for drivers with insulin-treated diabetes. Rather, those opposing an individual assessment of drivers with insulin-treated diabetes in interstate commerce are forced to argue that this positive experience in states across the country is irrelevant.
12 The study population contained drivers who were driving commercial vehicles in interstate commerce pursuant to the grandfather provision from the prior Federal Highway Administration waiver program as well as drivers working in intrastate commerce pursuant to state waiver programs. It bears noting that because the proposed FMCSA protocol contains more rigorous screening, driving, and monitoring mechanisms than the study population, those driving pursuant to the proposed protocol would constitute an even safer group of drivers.
13 The General Estimates System is operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is a survey of police accident reports.