Concussion Symptoms May Disappear but the Injury Could Still Impact Driving

March 8th, 2017 by Attorney Julie Butcher

Millions of Americans suffer concussions every year. Depending on the severity of the concussion and whether the person has suffered one in the past, symptoms can linger for days, weeks or months. A recent study by the University of Georgia (UGA) shows that even after a driver no longer feels the effects of a concussion, he or she may still be too impaired to drive safely, according to the Athens Banner Herald.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body which causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause chemical changes and possibly stretch and damage brain cells.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of a concussion include:

  • Inability to remember events prior to or after a hit or fall
  • Being dazed or stunned
  • Confusion
  • Clumsy movements or loss of balance
  • Answering questions slowly
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mood, behavior or personality changes
  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Being bothered by light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

If your family member may have suffered a concussion in a Kentucky accident, make sure they get medical attention, and don’t let them drive.

There are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year, according to research by Boston University. There are millions more who suffer concussions because of vehicle accidents, slips and falls and criminal assaults. Many of these people also drive vehicles, perhaps more dangerously than they realize.

The UGA study by the College of Education’s department of kinesiology found that test subjects who had concussions in the past and felt that they had recovered were likely to drive erratically while using a driving simulator. The behavior at times was similar to that of a drunk driver. Subjects had less vehicle control and swerved more within their lane. Test participants were 14 college-age individuals who engaged in the testing within 48 hours of no longer feeling symptoms of their concussion.

Study results indicate that a person suffering a concussion should not drive until some time passes after the symptoms have cleared. The next focus of UGA’s research will be trying to find out when driving abilities come back to normal, to develop guidelines to help determine when driving should be restricted for those with concussions.

If you or a loved one is recovering from a concussion it may be wise to delay driving as long as it’s practical to do so.

If you or a family member has been injured by a vehicle accident in Kentucky, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain compensation for your injuries.