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Editor's Note
August 1, 2022

Driving Safety After an Acute Illness—This Is Our Lane

Author Affiliations
  • 1Section of General Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Associate Editor, JAMA Internal Medicine
  • 3Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 1, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.2874

In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr Staples and colleagues1 explore the critical question of driving safety after a syncopal event. Although prior work2 has suggested that syncope is associated with an increased risk of subsequent motor vehicle crash (MVC), these studies tended to use the general population as a comparator or have no comparator at all.2,3 What if MVC rates of patients with syncope were compared with other patients experiencing acute illness—would syncope still be a unique harbinger of MVC risk? Dr Staples and colleagues1 address this gap using a novel linkage of clinical, administrative, and driving data. Among patients cared for in the emergency department (ED), they found that patients with syncope were no more likely to experience MVC within the following year than other patients (9.2% vs 10.1% of patients, respectively). The authors question whether current driving restrictions after syncope are justified. Shall we tell patients who have experienced a syncopal event to fire up their engines?

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