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I recall that years ago here
in Washington state, I had to get a doctor's note every time I renewed. In
addition, there was a "restriction" or something listed on the front
of my license that looked like this: "Restrictions: D." I could not
find a key of what each restriction meant, so it must have been something only
the police knew about. At some point, this policy ended.
I was irritated that I was
singled out. In a fit of fury, I picked up an application for a disabled parking
permit. If I am going to be treated like an invalid, I would take advantage of
it! But I never filled the form out. Honestly, the doctor's note was only a
minor hassle and a formality. The DOL provided a simple form for the doctor to
check off and sign, and I never had a problem. In fact, I wish there was
something on my license to indicate (but only to people who might need to know,
like police) that I have diabetes. The fear of a mistaken DUI stop still worries
me. I work in the court system, and I encounter a lot of people who should not
be driving for one reason or another. Some diabetics probably shouldn't be on
the road due to complications or poor control, and I am not sure it is wise to
leave it up to the individual to decide not to drive.
By the way, I have seen only one diabetic cited
for an accident, and he told the judge about his hypoglycemia and had the ticket
dismissed. I have not heard of a diabetic being charged with a DUI recently in
the Seattle area. Some troopers I spoke with have stopped people on the
suspicion and learned the driver has diabetes, though. Questions 5 and 6 on the
DUI quesionnaire (which you have the right to remain silent on, of course!) asks
"Do you have diabetes or epilepsy?" and "Do you take
of curiosity, I called the Dept. of Licensing a few months ago to learn the
history of this particular diabetic restriction, and the person I spoke with
recalled that there were lots of different restrictions that were done away with
sometime in the 1980s. I wanted to know if the policy was still in place and if
the DOL had somehow forgotten that I have diabetes. Then the woman asked me to
be an organ donor (which they do type on your license.) Hey, if the state wants
my pancreas, they can have it. Caveat emptor.
Bureaucracy is a funny thing.
I had to fill out some long forms to be approved for a teaching license in
Washington, and it included questions about losing consciousness, etc. However,
it didn't care to ask for explanations. A fellow classmate had to answer the
questions "Have you ever intentionally hurt a person?" "Have you
ever killed a person?" etc. with "Yes." He scribbled in:
"But my government told me to do it." He was a Vietnam vet. He was
granted his teaching certificate.
I look forward to learning
more about what other states do for diabetic drivers.