Friday, July 15, 2016

EXPERIMENTAL REPORT: Driving difficulties among military veterans: clinical needs and current intervention status

CITATION: Possis, Elizabeth, Thao Bui, Margaret Gavian, Jennie Leskela, Effie Linardatos, Jennifer Loughlin, and Thad Strom. "Driving difficulties among military veterans: clinical needs and current intervention status." Military medicine 179, no. 6 (2014): 633-639.

 ABSTRACT: Military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan often develop mental health difficulties, which may manifest as problematic driving behavior. Veterans may be more likely to engage in risky driving and to subsequently be involved in motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. This article reviews literature on driving difficulties among military veterans and evaluates available research on the potential pathways that underlie risky driving behavior. Current interventions for problematic driving behaviors are considered, and the necessity of modifying these interventions to address the unique difficulties encountered by military veterans is highlighted. The review concludes with a discussion of clinical implications of these findings and identification of possible avenues for future research and intervention.

MY TAKE ON IT: This review identifies fear- or anxiety-related behaviors as a cause of unsafe driving behaviors in military veterans. This anxiety can be expressed in risky responses like drunk-driving and road rage. It may also be expressed as classic phobic behavior like avoiding highways and other situations perceived as dangerous. The recommended treatment for driving phobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy and counter-conditioning, although the authors note that their effectiveness specifically with veterans is not well studied.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Hands Free" phones just as distracting for drivers, reseach shows

Dr Graham Hole, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex conducted research that shows: “A popular misconception is that using a mobile phone while driving is safe as long as the driver uses a hands-free phone. Our research shows this is not the case. Hands-free can be equally distracting because conversations cause the driver to visually imagine what they’re talking about. This visual imagery competes for processing resources with what the driver sees in front of them on the road.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Animals as Vehicles

Like many people who commute to work on foot, I understand the perils of being a pedestrian.  It seems as if our transport infrastructure always caters to the needs of the automobile majority, even at the expense of other travelers just trying to get from A to B. 

It is not that car-centric communities are necessarily dangerous to others.  But they can be when paired with a sense of entitlements, one that says: "the road is for vehicles and anyone else on them is on the wrong place and deserves whatever they get".

That arrogance is why pedestrians get hit even when crossing roadways safely, even on a signaled crosswalk, because drivers just never even consider they might be there, let alone that they should always look for and give way to us. Automobiles give people power, but that is also meant to bring with it vigilance and a sense of responsibility, especially to those traversing the land in slower and more vulnerable ways.

And that does not just mean on foot, but by traditional animal-based forms of transport.  Outside of marked highways, these are also permitted forms of travel not mere inconvenient obstacles in the road.

So that is why I despair when I read of a lawyer saying, of a defendant who by all accounts (other than his own) deliberately rammed a horse and rider: "

Sunday, December 20, 2015

EXPERIMENTAL REPORT On the road again after traumatic brain injury: driver safety and behaviour following on-road assessment and rehabilitation

CITATION: Ross, Pamela, Jennie L. Ponsford, Marilyn Di Stefano, Judith Charlton, and Gershon Spitz. "On the road again after traumatic brain injury: driver safety and behaviour following on-road assessment and rehabilitation." Disability and rehabilitation (2015): 1-12.

ABSTRACT: Purpose: To examine pre- and post-injury self-reported driver behaviour and safety in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who returned to driving after occupational therapy driver assessment and on-road rehabilitation. Method: A self-report questionnaire, administered at an average of 4.5 years after completing an on-road driver assessment, documenting pre- and post-injury crash rates, near-crashes, frequency of driving, distances driven, driving conditions avoided and navigation skills, was completed by 106 participants, who had either passed the initial driver assessment (pass group n = 74), or required driver rehabilitation, prior to subsequent assessments (rehabilitation group n = 32). Results: No significant difference was found between pre- and post-injury crash rates. Compared to pre-injury, 36.8% of drivers reported limiting driving time, 40.6% drove more slowly, 41.5% reported greater difficulty with navigating and 20.0% reported more near-crashes. The rehabilitation group (with greater injury severity) was significantly more likely to drive less frequently, shorter distances, avoid: driving with passengers, busy traffic, night and freeway driving than the pass group. Conclusions: Many drivers with moderate/severe TBI who completed a driver assessment and rehabilitation program at least 3 months post-injury, reported modifying their driving behaviour, and did not report more crashes compared to pre-injury. On-road driver training and training in navigation may be important interventions in driver rehabilitation programs.

MY TAKE ON IT: Driving anxiety can result from an acquired impairment to driving ability such as traumatic brain injury.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

EXPERIMENTAL REPORT: The Unifying Creative-Meditation Technique and Physiological Measurement of Anxiety in Romanian Amateur Drivers

TITLE:  "The Unifying Creative-Meditation Technique and Physiological Measurement of Anxiety in Romanian Amateur Drivers."
AUTHOR: Mitrofan, Laurentiu, Mihaela Chraif, Florinda Golu, and Emil-Razvan Gatej.
JOURNAL: Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences
ABSTRACT: Nowadays, road accidents are very frequent. Anxiety plays an important role in traffic safety. In this study, we tried to prove that the Unifying Creative-Meditation Technique has a beneficial effect on anxiety which was measured through physiological parameters. The participants were 30 drivers (for the experimental group) and 30 drivers (for the witness group) that have been selected from our Department's students. The subjects had been part of the experimental group were asked to have the driving license for minimum one year. (Full text here).

MY TAKE: This is a not especially impressive paper. It is full of typos and poorly structured so that it omits most of the information it should include and put the rest in the wrong order. This only thing that is really clear is the authors pro-"Creative-Meditation" bias.  The tool used to choose the experiment group is a general anxiety scale rather than one relating specifically to driving anxiety. Even after combing through the whole thing twice I have no idea  what it has to do with driving behavior at all.  They seem to have left that part.  Along with explaining what "Creative Meditation" actually is.

TL;DR -- Skip this one entirely

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

EXPERIMENTAL REPORT The Driving Behavior Survey as a Measure of Behavioral Stress Responses to MVA-rlated PTSD

TITLE: The Driving Behavior Survey as a Measure of Behavioral Stress Responses to MVA-rlated PTSD
AUTHOR: Aaron S Baker, Scott D Litwack, Joshua D Clapp, J Gayle Beck, Denise M Soan
JOURNAL: Behavior Therapy
ABSTRACT: Numerous treatments are available that address the core symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are a number of related behavioral stress responses that are not assessed with PTSD measures, yet these behavioral stress responses affect quality of life. The goal of the current study was to investigate whether a recently developed measure of behavioral stress response, the Driving Behavior Survey (DBS), was sensitive to change associated with treatment among a group of participants diagnosed with PTSD. The DBS indexes anxious driving behavior, which is frequently observed among individuals with motor vehicle accident-related PTSD. Participants (n = 40) were racially diverse adults (M age = 40.78, 63% women) who met diagnostic criteria for motor vehicle accident-related PTSD. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses indicated that participants who were assigned to a brief, exposure-based intervention displayed significant reductions on the DBS subscales relative to participants assigned to the wait-list control condition (r = .41–.43). Moreover, mediational analyses indicated that the observed reductions on the DBS subscales were not better accounted for by reductions in PTSD. Taken together, these findings suggest that the DBS subscales are sensitive to changes associated with PTSD treatment and can be used to augment outcome assessment in PTSD treatment trials.

MY TAKE: When driving anxiety was he result for PTSD caused by a motor vehicle accident, therapeutic writing exercises where they vividly described he accident led to reduced driving anxiety symptoms.