A delivery driver has been jailed for over three-and-a-half years for causing the death of a 53-year-old man after having a severe hypo behind the wheel.
Fred Sygrove, 24, started a 44-month jail sentence on Sunday November 22. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008, and obtained a driving licence in 2010.
He told Reading Crown Court that he had no recollection of the crash after blacking out and losing control of the vehicle. It was not disclosed which type of diabetes Sygrove has.
Sygrove took regular medication, but failed to test his blood sugar levels or attend doctor’s appointments for diabetes check-ups. Upon receiving his driving license, he neglected to tell the DVLA about his diabetes, and did not tell his employers (Currys PC World) about his condition when he was hired as a driver in 2013.
The collision happened in Hambridge Road, Newbury on August 6, 2014. Sygrove was returning to the electrical firm and forced David Badcock off his cycle. Mr. Badcock suffered fatal injuries.
Sygrove’s co-worker Jerome Harvey was sitting in the van’s passenger seat and tried to pull on the handbrake as Sygrove lost control of the van. Mr. Harvey told the court that Sygrove had mounted curbs and driven on the wrong side of the road prior to the crash. He also was not aware that Sygrove had diabetes.
Sygrove handed himself into the police following the crash. He was jailed for 44 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and eight months for giving false information on a driving license application. The sentences will run concurrently. He has also been banned from driving for 10 years.
Judge Alexia Durran said that Sygrove had been “stupid and naïve” in his poor diabetes management. Sygrove had reportedly experienced blackouts twice before due to his diabetes, but never while driving. His defence lawyer, John Simmons, said Sygrove had not felt any of the symptoms of the hypo before the incident.
This tragic incident illustrates why having good diabetes management is essential, especially if you drive.
Driving and the DVLA
If you have diabetes, you must inform the DVLA of your condition when applying for a driving license, as well as how it is treated. It is a legal requirement to tell the DVLA if you treat your diabetes with insulin.
You also need to tell the DVLA if you lose your hypo awareness. Losing hypo awareness can be especially dangerous while driving. As Sygrove’s lawyer pointed out, he did not know he was having a hypo before the collision.
If you drive and you have recently been struggling to identify hypo symptoms, you should not drive again until your hypo awareness has returned.
Blood sugar management
A key aspect of recovering hypo awareness is through regular testing of your blood glucose levels. Sygrove admitted he did not do this, and in neglecting blood sugar management, he was unable to connect hypo symptoms to low blood sugar.
Diabetes and your employer
If you drive for a living, it is essential to tell your employer about your diabetes, especially if you are susceptible to hypos.
Being open about your diabetes will enable your employer to take this into account if you have a hypo, or require time off. Similarly to the DVLA, it is important that your employer knows you take insulin.
Making sure a co-worker knows about your diabetes is also advised, in case you need help treating a hypo.