Diabetes and Driving

Just Joyce
By Just Joyce Latest Reply 2014-04-18 11:33:05 -0500
Started 2014-04-12 21:26:13 -0500

Many diabetics are pulled over for erratic driving in this country on a daily basis. Their driving is erratic because of a diabetic high or low. Police officers often think these drivers are either driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Depending on the situation, diabetics are arrested, or sent to the hospital and are subjected to Field Sobriety Test.

As you know I am very much involved in my community. I am the President of our Police Community Relations Council. There are 8 other such Presidents in the city. Quarterly we meet with the Police Commissioner to discuss problems, training and other factors involving the Police Department and the Community.

In February, I had the opportunity to sit on a Police Promotional Interview Panel. Just before the beginning of the interviews, the Police Commissioner announced that our police officers will be trained to recognize diabetic illnesses. Besides myself, one of the other Presidents is a diabetic.

When he announced that officers would be trained to recognize diabetic problems not only for drivers but people they encounter on the street. I was so excited. I told him that both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can give an officer the impression that a person is either drunk from alcohol or high on drugs. I asked him to make sure they check the person for a bracelet or necklace and their wallets for cards.

I think every police officer, deputy, state trooper and sheriff in this country should be trained to recognize diabetic problems. I also think that to have this happen all of us diabetics should contact our police department heads and our local and state elected officials to make this training mandatory.

With proper training, regarding diabetes, I think there will be less incidents when diabetics in distress encounter an officer.

14 replies

Stuart1966 2014-04-17 23:02:53 -0500 Report

With respect, trained or untrained ANY incident where the word EVER comes up is DANGEROUS for us.

Lethal for our ability to continue driving without unwanted and entirely unneeded scrutiny. I certainly respect your desire, but I fear severely where such training will eventually lead us as a community in any manner re: driving.

It will not be in our favor, ever (: (

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-18 11:33:05 -0500 Report

So you would rather be driving down the road with your family and the uncontrolled diabetic driving behind you passes out rams into the back of you and harms or kills your family is okay with you.

Driving is a PRIVILEGE not a right. There isn't a law that says you have the right to drive. People CHOOSE to learn to drive, they CHOOSE to get a license to do so.

I don't think there is a diabetic who can predict that they will have a high or low in rush hour traffic any more than a person can predict they will have a heart attack in the middle of rush hour traffic.

The diabetic who does not take care of themselves put people and themselves at risk. I think they have a greater risk of having a diabetic episode than the person who is in control. An undiagnosed diabetic can have the same risk.

Police officers are trained to perform CPR for motorist and non motorist. Why shouldn't they be trained to recognize diabetic medical problems? You can have all the fear you choose to have but if you were experiencing a low while walking down the sidewalk or driving your car, you might be grateful that a police officer was able to help you. If your doctor tells you to stop driving so be it. If you continue to drive after your are told not to do so and have an accident, your medical records will come into play in court because the prosecutor is going to get a warrant for your medical records.

harry1 2014-04-15 22:44:00 -0500 Report

My doctor took my CDL since I started insulin and if I don't get it controlled she is pulling my regular license.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-16 09:20:07 -0500 Report

My doctor took mine because I have periods of numbness in my legs. It doesn't happen all the time but because I don't know when it happens, he wants me and others to be safe.

GabbyPA 2014-04-14 18:55:57 -0500 Report

This is great and offers much promise for so many of us. I know the EMT's here ask it almost as the first question. Even our 911 operators will ask. But getting the guys on the street to do that is great.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-16 09:18:47 -0500 Report

Gabby forgive me. I totally forgot to like or respond to you. Here the 911 operator for the Fire Departments always ask for the problem the person is having. Our Firefighters are trained EMT's and our system is set up so that if there isn't an ambulance s not close, they can respond. They also have ambulance and medical calls. People don't know this. An ambulance has EMT's who can give basic care, a medic has Paramedics who give advance care. The difference is that if all of the Medics are very busy, they take reserve ambulances and put firefighters on them.

I think we need to find a way to take diabetic recognition training to every police agency in this country. Some may already have it.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-04-13 18:44:04 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce; Before I was actually diagnosed diabetic, I was stopped by the police for erratic driving and going below the speed limit. I failed the drunk test and was hauled to jail. I wasn't booked yet, they took a blood sample. They discovered my BG was 43. Of course they filled me up on oj and cookies. They chewed me out for driving that way. I didn't even know what they were talking about. They took me to my car which they had impounded and warned me not to do it again. Told me I needed to see my Dr. the next day. I did and the rest is history…all I know is I had been shopping, I was hot, tired and I started to feel real weird. I saw the lights flashing and pulled over. Thank the Lord I didn't pass out. I would have been thrown in the drunk tank for sure and may have went into a coma or worse. It was a small town but that's no excuse. I love you wrote this up to enlighten all of us and to nudge us into some sort of action. We all need to be concerned.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-14 19:04:00 -0500 Report

One of the problems many of us community leaders face are not always from elected officials or local, state or federal agencies, but from the people themselves.

Our police community meeting was so bogged down with complaints that I announced if you are here to complain about something without also having an opinion on how it should be solved, do not complain. One person said she had a drug dealer on her corner for the past several months and it was a problem. I asked if she called 911 when he first showed up, she said no. I said that is when it was a problem. When you don't call the police to report drug trafficking you are giving the dealer permission to be on your street and since you didn't call the police, you can't complain about it now. Her response was she didn't call because she didn't want to bother them. Someone told her to sit down and stop wasting our time.

A lot of people will not write to elected officials, attend community meetings yet feel they have a right to complain about things going on around them. All it takes is an email or a piece of paper to write the letter.

Diabetes training could be available for officers across this country if Diabetics would take action.

Glucerna 2014-04-13 18:27:29 -0500 Report

I really like the police department's proactive stance on recognizing diabetes, Joyce. The American Diabetes Association has some good guidelines for PWD who drive. It's geared towards teens with diabetes who are just starting to drive, but the reminders are useful for everyone. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/... ~Lynn @Glucerna

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-14 22:41:41 -0500 Report

We have a proactive police department whose goal is working with the community's. We now have Twitter Town Hall's each week. Residents can discuss everything from Auto Theft to Sex Crimes with the Police Commissioner, District Commanders, and investigators from every department.

I have access to SWAT, the Marine Unit, Hand To Hand training, Shoot Don't Shoot Training, and other Trainers at the Academy. We bring them in to our monthly meetings to educate the public as to how each unit operates. The Police Commissioner brings the ComStat meeting to the community so residents can learn how crime is tracked, how officers are deployed and what the Districts do to reduce crime. There are times Community Leaders can participate attend inservice classes with officers. We also have Coffee With A Cop. We take coffee and cookies or donuts and snacks to a neighborhood park, or street corner and have patrol officers stop and have coffee with people walking past. They get to know the officers. We also have officers who mentor kids in the communities where they patrol. Officers volunteer at community events, rescue animals and check on at risk residents. The Police Department has a large city wide open house. Citizens can come in and tour police Headquarters. meet officers and look at the equipment they use. Many residents can ride with an officer on Patrol.

We are slowly building trust between officers and residents. People are actually surprised when an officer waves, stops and talks to them or chat with the kids.

I am currently planning Cookies and Punch with a Cop and Skate With A Cop. We have fun with the officers and they have fun with us.

Type1Lou 2014-04-13 11:34:06 -0500 Report

I've never encountered this problem personally but my Dad, who was diabetic did. We lived in a small city without a car. He would walk everywhere and low BG's came upon him without his realizing it. He was stopped more than once because he appeared drunk. This was back in the 1960's. The more that can be done to educate everyone, the better it will be.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-14 22:25:30 -0500 Report

The more people who try to get their local, county and state police departments to look into getting training for their officers the safer the roads would be as well as the people.with diabetes.

msann 2014-04-13 09:47:50 -0500 Report

great job I wish all states would recognize this problem and I try to all ways remember to know where my bsl before I drive thanks!!!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-04-13 13:38:39 -0500 Report

It isn't the state that is doing it, this is the city. States would recognize things if the people living in them would write letters and make phone calls. This is one of those things where you can wish for it and not get it or write letters to put the idea in someone's head.

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