New research detailed in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention reveal that those who have experienced at least one traumatic brain injury (TBI) are likely to be more aggressive on the road. Canadian researchers discovered that those who displayed serious driving aggression, including making threats to hurt fellow drivers, passengers or vehicles, were also at significantly higher odds of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
“We know already that driver aggression and risk of driving collision are affected by psychiatric factors and substance use, and that this connection is strong, and we know that mental health and substance can be, both, antecedents and consequences of brain injury,” Dr. Gabriela Ilie, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at St. Michael’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Through this study, we wanted to examine if a link between traumatic brain injuries and road-related aggression and driving collisions also exists.” “These data suggest links between TBI and hazardous driving behaviors, but at this early stage we can’t be sure if these relationships are causal,” Dr. Robert Mann, senior scientist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and co-principal investigator of the study, concluded. “Nevertheless, it appears that a large proportion of the driving population has experienced these injuries, so understanding how trauma to the head affects driving could have important implications for improving traffic safety.”