New law lowers barrier for diabetic truck drivers

The highway bill President Bush signed Aug. 10 replaces a provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2003 Diabetes Exemption Program barring insulin-treated diabetics from truck driving.

The new law allows insulin-using diabetics to be assessed medically on a case-by-case basis.

“Anytime a discrimination barrier is torn down – as this bill will do for commercial driving – it will have a profound effect,” said Lawrence Smith, chair of the American Diabetes Association.

The case-by-case assessment criteria includes more than 50 safety provisions and ends the 33-year-old blanket ban on insulin users operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

The program includes a rule that requires applicants to have commercial vehicle driving experience, while using insulin, for the three years before applying for an exemption. Because of the prior ban, no interstate driver could fulfill the three-year requirement. However, 27 states grant waivers for intrastate driving, which is legal under federal law, and 11 grant limited waivers.

The ADA noted that Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., worked to alter the program.

Further information is available by calling ADA at (800) 342-2383 or visiting

— Lance Orr