ATLANTA - Motorists with medical conditions can now opt to list them on the back of their Georgia driver's license or state identification card.
People can voluntarily participate in the new program by filling out an application and getting verification from a doctor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/rckjQb).
Having the information on a driver's license could aid emergency responders in knowing how to best treat people who may be unconscious, advocates say.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services now has 16 conditions from which drivers may choose.
Conditions which can be listed on licenses include pacemaker, autism, hearing loss, seizures and diabetes.
Other conditions could be added in the future, said Susan Sports, a spokeswoman with the state agency.
The information could help law officers determine whether a medical condition, such as a brain injury, may be a factor, said Alan Carter.
He leads a brain injury support group in Valdosta, and says that rapid treatment of people with brain injuries is crucial in emergency situations.
The information may be especially helpful for people with hearing loss who are unable to hear instructions or someone with Tourette syndrome, said Mark Johnson, director of advocacy at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital specializing in spinal cord and brain injuries.
"People make assumptions when people don't walk like everybody else or talk like everybody else or have a tic," Johnson said.
The decision to give motorists the option of having the information was prompted by a state Senate bill signed into law last year that allows people with post-traumatic stress disorder to put a notation on their licenses.
"It could make the difference in saving a life," said state Sen. Ronald Ramsey, D-Decatur.