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C 310/24 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/26) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0539/98

by James Nicholson (I-EDN) to the Commission

(4 March 1998)

Subject: Driving licence restrictions on insulin dependent diabetics

On 1 January the United Kingdom government introduced legislation which prohibits insulin dependent
diabetics from the entitlement to drive vehicles in category C1 (lorries up to 7.5 tonnes) and category D1
(minibuses) obtained through passing a test to drive cars.Tthe relevant EC Directive is 91/439/EEC (1). The UK
Government has stated that insulin treatment leads to a significant risk of hypoglycaemia which can result in loss
of consciousness or diminished judgment.

What research has the Commission undertaken to establish the number of traffic accidents involving these
categories in which an occurrence of hypoglycaemia has been shown to be a contributory factor?

Which Member States have introduced legislation similar to that which now applies in the United Kingdom?

(1) OJ L 237, 24.08.1991, p.1.

Joint answer to Written Questions


E-0113/98 and E-0539/98
given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(27 March 1998)

In 1991 the Council adopted Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences which entered into force on 24 August
1991 and which Member States had to apply as from 1 July 1996. The Directive introduces the principle of
mutual recognition of driving licences and harmonises the driving licence categories, the minimum age and the
conditions for issuing and renewing driving licences, including the ‘Minimum standards of physical and mental
fitness for driving a power-driven vehicle’ (Annex III).

Point 1.1 of Annex III defines group 1 as drivers of vehicles of categories A, B and B+E and subcategories A1
and B1 (cars and motorcycles), whereas point 1.2 defines group 2 as drivers of vehicles of categories C, C+E, D,
D+E (lorries and buses) and of subcategories C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E (small lorries and minibuses).

Point 10 of Annex III deals with diabetes and stipulates that ‘Group 2, 10.1. Only in very exceptional cases may
driving licences be issued to, or renewed for, applicants or drivers suffering from diabetes mellitus and requiring
insulin treatment, and then only where duly justified by authorized medical opinion and subject to regular
medical check-ups’.

Finally, Annex III of Directive 91/439/EEC states that due consideration shall be given to the additional risks and
dangers involved in the driving of vehicles of group 2 (point 17.2).

These provisions were based on advice from medical experts from across the Community, rather than statistical
evidence relating to traffic accidents, since no such specific data was, or is, available.

The United Kingdom transposed Directive 91/439/EEC into national law on 1 January 1997, and delayed the
entry into force of the provisions concerning diabetes mellitus until 1 January 1998.

The issue is to a large extent specific to the United Kingdom situation because the Directive is necessarily drafted
in a way which enables Member States to decide on the extent of ‘very exceptional cases’. Until 1 January 1997,
the United Kingdom automatically issued a category C1 and D1 licence to every person who obtained a category
B licence. Therefore, the vast majority of licence holders in the United Kingdom fall within group 2. If, when
renewing a driving licence (once every three years for people suffering from insulin treated diabetes), the holder
wishes to keep his or her group 2 entitlements, then the stricter medical standards for this group are to be applied.
It is up to the British authorities and not the Commission to decide on possible ‘exceptional’ individual cases.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/25

Other Member States have transposed Directive 91/439/EEC and have the same approach as the United
Kingdom, namely no compatibility for insulin treated diabetics and only very few ‘exceptional’ cases under strict
medical control. However, the other Member States have not been issuing categories C1 and D1 automatically to
every category B licence holder and their situation is not strictly comparable with that in the United Kingdom.

The provisions of Annex III concerning drivers suffering from diabetes mellitus, and for group 2 in particular,
were specifically discussed at a meeting of the committee of governmental driving licence experts on 15 April
1996 at which national experts on diabetes mellitus were also present. At that meeting, the experts were of the
opinion that there were no grounds for changing the relevant provisions in the Directive.

(98/C 310/27) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0121/98


by Gerardo Fernández-Albor (PPE) to the Commission
(30 January 1998)

Subject: Commemoration by the Commission of the European Union of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The various signatory states plan to establish national committees to organize commemorative events to
celebrate the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In view the Union’s constant efforts to defend human rights in a world where human rights are continuously
violated and infringed, it is particularly important that the Commission, as an institution representing the
European Union as a whole, should celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration in a distinctive and
unique manner.

Can the Commission say how it intends to commemorate the fiftieth Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and in what way it shall be different to the various national committees?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(18 February 1998)

Last year the Commission approved two schemes to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. They are a master’s degree in human rights and democratisation and an EU human
rights agenda for the new millennium.

The European master’s degree course got under way in October. The intake for the 1997/98 academic year
comprised 53 students from eleven Member States and six students from Central and Eastern Europe. Teaching
is being provided by 44 professors and lecturers and 13 assistant lecturers at ten universities (Padua,
Deusto-Bilbao, Strasbourg III, Bochum, Essex, Maastricht, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Abo-Turku,
Coimbra and Dublin). The first degrees will be awarded in Venice at a ceremony timed to coincide with other
fiftieth anniversary celebrations.

A research and study programme run by the European Institute in Florence will produce a human rights agenda
for the new millennium. The recommendations will be submitted to the Member States’ governments in
November. The text will be the fruit of discussions guided by a committee of human rights figures. Rapporteurs
from the fifteen Member States and a member of Parliament will be invited to make proposals in three subject
areas: human rights in the Community, human rights outside the Community and the institutional aspects of
protecting human rights. These proposals will be presented to academic circles, the non-governmental sector and
regional and international organisations at two conferences in May and June. The committee will then approve
the human rights agenda for official unveiling at December’s closing conference in Vienna.