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.