Bad Driving Is in the Genes

Study says 30% can't help being lousy on the roads
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 4:37 PM CDT
A traffic jam in Brussels.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(Newser) – Certain people—perhaps up to 30% of the population—may be fated by their genetic makeup to be bad drivers, a new study suggests. Researchers tested a small group of people on a driving simulator and found that subjects with a particular gene variant weren't so hot at keeping up with the course’s twists and turns.

The gene variant that correlated to bad driving limits the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which strengthens an individual’s memory by enhancing broader cross-communication between brain areas. There’s good news for the bad drivers, though: other research suggests that the variant helps slow the degenerative effects of multiple sclerosis as well as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, LiveScience reports.