Congress Approves Diabetic Trucker Bill

August 8, 2005 ( - Legislation approved by both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate would permit qualified drivers who must use insulin to manage their diabetes to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

A news release from The American Diabetes Association (ADA) said the bills would eliminate a provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 2003 Diabetes Exemption Program that made it almost impossible for anyone with insulin-treated diabetes to apply to drive commercially.

“These regulations are important not only to people with insulin-treated diabetes who are seeking to drive a truck in interstate commerce, but also people in many other industries that look to the government’s standards in their workplace. 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 Board at the American Diabetes Association, in the news release.

In September 2003, FMCSA announced a Diabetes Exemption Program to end the 33-year-old blanket ban on operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce for people who use insulin and replace it with a case-by-case assessment that includes over 50 safety provisions. The Diabetes Exemption Program also included a “three year rule” that prevented the vast majority of people with diabetes from applying under the program requiring applicants to have driven a commercial vehicle while using insulin for the three years before applying for an exemption under the program.

The American Diabetes Association hailed the efforts of Representatives Howard Coble (R-North Carolina) and Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) for their work on this issue.

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