Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Post-concussion motorists may drive erratically

When you see a vehicle having trouble staying within its lane, you may think the driver intoxicated, or at least distracted by some activity like texting.

A university study raises a different possibility: The driver may be recovering from a concussion.


About the study


The University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Education conducted a study about the effects of a concussion on driving performance. There were 14 college-age participants, each of whom had suffered a concussion. All reported for the study within 48 hours of their recovery; that is to say, none were feeling post-concussion effects. They used a simulator to test their driving skills.


The results


Julianne Schmidt, the associate professor who led the study, said that concussion research is often directed toward athletes and how long they need to wait before returning to play. No restrictions have been put on their driving skills, at least at UGA. However, her study showed that the post-concussion participants had difficulty staying within their lane on the simulator. Their erratic actions were similar, at times, to those who drive under the influence of alcohol. The professor expects that the results of the study will help determine how long people should refrain from driving following a concussion. Research indicates that currently, only half of those who suffer this kind of injury restrict their driving because of it.


Trying to steer clear


You may want to get away from the driver who is having problems controlling his or her vehicle. Unfortunately, traffic has you hemmed in and stuck next to this car, which eventually sideswipes yours, forcing you off the road. From a legal standpoint, you are in a position to file for compensation to cover medical bills for any injuries you sustain. You wonder why this strange accident happened. You later find out that the other driver suffered a head injury in the collision. It was another concussion, which was why he was driving erratically in the first place.


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