Saturday, 30 October 2010

Brain dead driver

Kandlbauer, a car mechanic from the south-eastern province of Styria, lost both his arms in September 2005 when he climbed a high-voltage electricity pylon as a dare.

Doctors fitted him with a prototype bionic arm for research purposes two years later and he became the first person outside the United States to wear such a high-tech prosthesis for everyday use in January 2009.

Just 10 months later, Kandlbauer passed his driving test and was given a specially-adapted Subaru. He returned to work as a warehouse clerk with his former employer. "One of my first goals was a driving licence," he wrote on his homepage. A trip to Australia and getting his own flat were among his other dreams.

"I love driving. My licence has given me back my independence," he wrote, saying his motto was: "Don't live for others, live for yourself!"

A few flinty-hearted sceptics might think a man with bionic arms is not fit to be driving. But I expect this is just a frightful coincidence:

Kandlbauer, who would have turned 23 next month, sustained severe head injuries when the specially modified car he was driving swerved off the road in the south east of Austria and crashed into a tree on October 19.