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Invited Commentary
April 2016

Syncope and the Risk of a Subsequent Motor Vehicle Crash

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Evaluative Clinical Sciences Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Division of General Internal Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Center for Leading Injury Prevention Practice Education & Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(4):510-511. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.8617

A 44-year-old man was driving northbound along Interstate I-81 in Pennsylvania under clear sunny skies in the mid-afternoon on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 (the day before the Thanksgiving holiday).1 He fell unconscious, crossed a grassy median, and crashed into an oncoming tractor-trailer truck. He died instantly, as did his 12-year-old child passenger. This case is not unique and now becomes one more anonymized statistic among the 90 traffic fatalities that occur on an average day in the United States.2 About a third involve drivers known to have an underlying medical illness such as a cardiac, neurologic, or psychiatric disorder.3 Almost all of these drivers visit a physician in the year before their motor vehicle crash.3