OBJECTIVE: To highlight the impact of the increasing attentional load on performance of both normal drivers and drivers with traumatic brain injury.
BACKGROUND: Patients with brain injury have a higher accident risk than people with no brain injury , probably as a result of persistent attention disorders.
METHOD: Ten patients and 10 paired controls took part in a computerized selective attention task involving specific attentional processes. They were asked to monitor a speedometer and to ignore sudden changes in the surrounding environment in three separate experimental situations involving different attentional load.
RESULTS: Although, in the control situation, patients' results were equivalent to controls', they displayed specific disorders in more complex situations where the attentional load increased.
CONCLUSION: These difficulties may have a negative impact on real driving situations.