COLUMBIA, S.C. — Rep. Gary Jerke has sponsored a bill that would allow individuals with insulin-treated diabetes to qualify for a commercial driver’s license, thereby enabling them to drive a school bus.
The bill stipulates that individuals with insulin-treated diabetes may request a waiver for their condition from the state’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety department. If granted, the individual can then apply for a commercial driver’s license.
To be eligible for a waiver, however, the applicant must provide documentation indicating that he or she received a comprehensive medical examination by a board-certified or board-eligible medical professional.
The applicant must also provide evidence signed by a medical professional stating that the applicant has no other disqualifying conditions, including diabetes-related complications, and that the applicant has had no recurrent severe hypoglycemic episodes within the past five years resulting in a loss of consciousness, requiring the assistance of another person or resulting in impaired cognitive functioning.
A separate, signed statement from an ophthalmologist or optometrist must be submitted stating that the individual has been examined and does not have diabetic retinopathy or proliferative diabetic retinopathy, meets the current vision standards and/or has been issued a valid medical exemption.
In addition, a signed statement from an endocrinologist must indicate several determinations, including that the applicant has been educated in diabetes and its management, and that the applicant has the ability and has demonstrated the willingness to properly monitor and manage his/her condition.
If granted, the waiver must remain in the driver's possession at all times. A waiver may be issued for a maximum of two years, and a driver may apply for renewal every two years. Any driver who is granted the waiver and has a severe hypoglycemic episode forfeits the waiver and cannot reapply for five years.