Q&A - Driving Without Due Care & Diabetes Issues

Q&A ImageI'm trying to find the laws relating with driving without due care when someone has a unknown medical issue causing the incident and the fine.

The officer issuing the fine, also asked for a certificate of medical clearance so he had a suspicion that some sort of attack may have initiated the problem.

The incident happened this past November and at the end of December the driver went to hospital with sugar level issues in his blood. He is currently in hospital now a month and a half later.

How does driving without due care rules apply when an incident likely may have occurred due to a health issue?

Careless driving prohibited

144  (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(a) without due care and attention,

You say unknown medical condition. I take that to mean this person had no idea that they had a medical condition and that it suddenly manifested itself in a manner that interfered with their ability to drive a vehicle properly. That interference resulted in a driving incident of some sort that caused police to issue the ticket. There was no way that this medical condition or it's result could have been anticipated before driving that day.

If all of that is true, then this driver would have a defence to the charge. They did not intend to do whatever they did and had no way of anticipating and preventing it from happening.

However, if this person knew that they were diabetic and that their blood sugar levels were not in control, then that would be a different matter all together.

I don't know what you are referring to when you mention certificate of medical clearance.

There is a fair amount of case law on this site for this particular section of the Motor Vehicle Act. A bit of reading should give you some idea of how the law will apply if this person disputes the ticket.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

The OP didn't say, but the implication is that the problem was a low blood sugar level. Generally speaking, it would be extremely rare for a high blood sugar level to interfere with one's driving ability. An undiagnosed diabetic would have a high blood sugar level not a low one. So any defense based on an undiagnosed problem would be hard to prove.

Diagnosed diabetics are (or should be) advised of the rule of thumb "5 to drive".  The 5 refers to a minimum blood glucose level of 5 mmol/L. Once one drops below 4 mmol/L any number of things start to go wrong, sight, co-ordination, mental capacity, etc.  Complicating all this is that long time diabetics (50+ years with the disease) lose the ability to feel that they have low blood sugar.  That is why it is essential to test for blood sugar level before ever leaving the driveway.  It is also a good rule of thumb to not drive when a mealtime is not long off.  That is because mental activity, such as that required for safe driving, uses up a lot of energy. That sudden drain on resources can lower the blood sugar quite quickly and catch one off guard.