HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) recently published changes it made to the diabetic regulations for school bus drivers and non-commercial drivers.
The changes went into effect on Oct. 9. The purpose of amending the bus driver medical regulations was to update the minimum standards for bus drivers being treated for diabetes mellitus.
The most notable change is that the previous regulations did not discern between a mild hypoglycemic reaction versus a severe hypoglycemic reaction. Moreover, the previous regulations did not recognize the dangers presented by symptomatic hyperglycemia.
Under the revised regulations, the diabetic waiver criteria requires a school bus driver’s healthcare provider to verify that the driver has had no severe hypoglycemic reactions or symptomatic hyperglycemia, and that the driver has been free from an insulin reaction that has resulted in a loss of consciousness, attention or awareness, or has required assistance from another person.
In addition, because the DOT recognizes that it is possible for people to demonstrate their ability to manage diabetes within a 12-month period, the disqualification period for individuals who have had any of the incidents listed above has been reduced from two years to 12 months. (School bus drivers who were disqualified for two years under the old regulation may be eligible to reapply for the waiver.)
A waiver provision has been added for individuals who have experienced a disqualifying episode, as long as the episode occurred while under the care of a physician who certifies that the episode was the result of a nonrecurring transient illness, toxic ingestion or metabolic imbalance, and that it was a temporary condition or an isolated incident.
School bus drivers who require a diabetic waiver must have an annual eye exam in order to detect diabetic retinopathy. Also, results of HbA1C tests must be submitted to the state DOT. School bus drivers who have had two consecutive HbA1C tests of greater than 8 percent will be required to undergo additional diabetic examinations every three months.
With regard to glucose monitoring, the regulations have been changed to require all diabetic drivers to self-monitor their blood glucose one hour before driving and at least every four hours while on duty, as well as maintaining a manual blood glucose log. Finally, all diabetic drivers are required to carry a source of rapidly absorbable glucose (either food or medication) at all times while driving a school bus. (Previously, these requirements were only for drivers using insulin to manage their diabetes.)
For a complete copy of the new diabetic regulations, click here.