Send to

Choose Destination
Diabetes Care. 2010 Nov;33(11):2430-5. doi: 10.2337/dc09-2130. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Type 1 diabetic drivers with and without a history of recurrent hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps: physiological and performance differences during euglycemia and the induction of hypoglycemia.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia Health SciencesCenter, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.



Collisions are more common among drivers with type 1 diabetes than among their nondiabetic spouses. This increased risk appears to be attributable to a subgroup of drivers with type 1 diabetes. The hypothesis tested is that this vulnerable subgroup is more at risk for hypoglycemia and its disruptive effects on driving.


Thirty-eight drivers with type 1 diabetes, 16 with (+history) and 22 without (-history) a recent history of recurrent hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps, drove a virtual reality driving simulator and watched a videotape of someone driving a simulator for 30-min periods. Driving and video testing occurred in a double-blind, randomized, crossover manner during euglycemia (5.5 mmol/l) and progressive hypoglycemia (3.9-2.5 mmol/l). Examiners were blind to which subjects were +/-history, whereas subjects were blind to their blood glucose levels and targets.


During euglycemia, +history participants reported more autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptoms (P≤0.01) and tended to require more dextrose infusion to maintain euglycemia with the same insulin infusion (P<0.09). During progressive hypoglycemia, these subjects demonstrated less epinephrine release (P=0.02) and greater driving impairments (P=0.03).


Findings support the speculation that there is a subgroup of type 1 diabetic drivers more vulnerable to experiencing hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps. This increased vulnerability may be due to more symptom "noise" (more symptoms during euglycemia), making it harder to detect hypoglycemia while driving; possibly greater carbohydrate utilization, rendering them more vulnerable to experiencing hypoglycemia; less hormonal counterregulation, leading to more profound hypoglycemia; and more neuroglycopenia, rendering them more vulnerable to impaired driving.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center