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Kansas researchers designing car health sensors for diabetics

Certain medical issues can restrict a person's driving privileges. For example, a driver diagnosed with epilepsy may have to prove he or she has been seizure-free for a set time - in Kansas, it's six months - before driving is permitted. A state motor vehicle department also may require medical proof of health on a regular basis.

Older Pittsburgh drivers are subject to driver's license renewals every four years rather than six years, starting with their 65th birthdays. Vision tests are required. The state may impose certain limitations for some drivers with vision problems, like driving privileges only during the day or within a certain distance.

The medical issues we've mentioned are ones doctors and patients can detect, before there's a problem on the road. What about drivers who suffer diabetic or heart attacks driving 75 mph on Interstate 70?

University of Kansas students are helping to develop car sensors that could prevent auto accidents caused by drivers with diabetes. The project, in conjunction with Bayer HealthCare and Sprint, involves the design of car monitors that would warn diabetic drivers of a dangerous drop in glucose levels. Blood sugar fluctuations can cause diabetics to become light-headed or pass out.

Undergraduate researchers are expected to complete and present the project by year's end.

Ford has already come up with a few ideas. The car maker designed driver seats that recognize heart attack symptoms and dashboard devices that detect particular facial changes, common in epileptics prior to seizures. Reports didn't say whether or when vehicle manufacturers were expected to add the technology to their products.

Drivers who cause injury accidents or fatalities due to health problems may face criminal and civil charges. For instance, a driver who skips an important prescription medication to control a potentially dangerous condition could be found negligent. Civil claims may be filed for compensation whether or not criminal charges are brought.

Source: bizjournals.com, "KU students, Bayer, Sprint partner to design health-monitoring car" Brianne Pfannenstiel, Nov. 04, 2013

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