Research Papers

The effectiveness of a simulation driving protocol with dual tasking scenarios in assessing concussed individuals return to safe driving, Authors: Dennis Dumpy, Carlos Zerpa, Paolo Sanzo, Bruce Weaver, Michel Bedard

Version 1
Date added June 26, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 2B
Author/Auteur Michel Bedard
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted) 



Concussions are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) that result from a direct or indirect impact to the head. The effect of concussions on driving performance and dual tasking (the ability to perform two activities at the same time) is relatively new in the literature. Although some research studies have examined reaction time and perceptive ability of concussed participants in driving using questionnaires or video testing, few studies have been performed with the concussed participant in a driving environment. It is important to address this gap to better understand the effect of concussion on a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Furthermore, addressing this issue will ensure the safety of the concussed person and others sharing the road. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of a simulation driving protocol in differentiating between concussed and healthy control participants on measures of reaction time during driving scenarios and dual task reaction time scenarios to be used in future research to monitor concussed participants return to safe driving. Testing was performed with a STISIM Model 400 driving simulator. Ten healthy and 10 concussed participants were exposed to multiple reaction time scenarios including pedestrian, vehicle, and cyclist incursions. Three dual task scenarios were also present during the simulation and were indicated by red triangles over either of the side view mirrors. ANOVAs were performed to examine the interaction effect between group and scenario on reaction time and dual task reaction time. No significant interaction effect between group and scenario was found for the dependent variables tested. There was a statistically significant difference in reaction time between groups F(1, 18) = 2.072, p < .0001, η2 = .600 and in dual task reaction time between groups F(1, 18) = 23.145, p < .0001, η2 = .563 with concussed participants experiencing slower reaction times when compared to the healthy control group. The findings support existing literature and suggest that the driving protocol used in this study seems to differentiate between healthy and concussed groups when exposed to multiple driving scenarios, including dual tasking. More research needs to be conducted to determine deficits in driving performance following concussion. These preliminary findings provide an avenue for future research to use this driving protocol to assess the effectiveness of cognitive and physical interventions on improving concussed participant's abilities to return to safe driving. The limitations of this study relate to sample size and other confounding variables such as participant level of stress, mood, attentiveness, and interest in driving, which were not monitored in this study and could potentially have an effect on driving performance. Future research will account for these confounding variables and will examine their effect on driving performance under the driving protocol developed in this study.

Michel Bedard