Low Levels of Stress Hormone Could Increase Risk of Traffic Accidents

A new study has linked the likelihood of teenage car crashes and levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the drivers.

It has been suggested that people who generate high levels of cortisol are less likely to crash as they have a more emotional response to near misses, meaning they learn better and will respond better in the future.

“The theory is that people who have a heightened emotional response to certain stimuli may use that emotion to learn more effectively,” said the co-scientific director of the Centre for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Dennis Durbin.

The researchers of the study, which was published on JAMA Paediatrics, stated that traffic crashes were the leading cause of death for people between 15 to 29 years old worldwide.

The study was however quite limited, as there were only 48 participants taken from the US state of Virginia. A larger study involving different States and countries could see some more concrete evidence of the theory, and possibly even see measurements of this hormone used to assess drivers and set them on safety training courses.

In adults, low levels of cortisol have supposedly been linked with asocial behaviour, criminal activities and dangerous driving.

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