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Prefecture Police urges caution for diabetic drivers

Date Posted: 2004-01-09

Okinawa Prefectural Police officials are urging drivers who suffer from diabetes to pay careful attention to correct medication when they get behind the wheel. “Recently we have had several traffic accidents that were caused by drivers who experienced an attack of diabetes related symptoms while driving,” a Prefectural Police spokesman said. He cited a fatal accident that happened last June when the driver lost consciousness because he had an insulin attack. His car crashed into another car, killing its driver.

He also said statistics that show that diabetes is increasing among the people of the prefecture worry traffic safety officials. He also said police are ready to give advice to drivers who suffer from diabetes. “Those people are welcome to the police station for our advice,” the spokesman said.

He also warned that having a diabetes attack is no excuse. “If a diabetic driver gets into an accident, and the investigation determines that he or she had an attack that caused the accident because of failing to take the necessary medication, the police and prosecutors will consider that gross negligence, and the punishment would be severe,” the spokesman said.

According to the Prefectural Police, there were five cases last year that the cause of the accident was determined to have been that the diabetic driver had lost consciousness while driving.

Dr. Ichiro Komiya, a professor at the University of the Ryukyus said that diabetic drivers the very least should always have some sweets available in case of an attack. “Diabetic drivers should always have a box of sweets at hand while driving. If they are experiencing an attack, they can then take a sweet and avoid losing consciousness,” Komiya said.

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