Research Reports - Assessing the longer-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury on Self-Reported Driving Ability

John Bernstein, BA, BS'Correspondence information about the author BA, BS John BernsteinEmail the author BA, BS John Bernstein, Matthew Calamia, PhD

PM&R. 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmrj.2018.05.008

Background
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may have long-term cognitive and functional consequences, and recent mTBI is associated with impaired performance on measures related to driving ability. However, it remains unclear whether prior mTBI history is associated with poorer driving performance.

Objective
To examine the longer-term effects of mTBI on self-reported driving ability.

Design
Retrospective, cross-sectional study.

Setting
Online.

Participants
389 participants (169 who reported mTBI history, 220 without mTBI history).

Methods
Comparing participants who report a history of mTBI and those who do not report mTBI history.

Main Outcome Measures
Self-report measures of mTBI history, frequency of aberrant driving behaviors, recent history of car accidents and citations, and previous psychological diagnoses and current symptoms.

Results
Participants with a history of mTBI reported an overall higher frequency of aberrant driving behaviors and reported committing more driving violations that risked the safety of others than comparison participants. mTBI participants were also more likely to have been involved in a car accident both within the past six months and three years. Among mTBI participants, reports of driving violations decreased with greater time since most recent injury. Driving violations and crash risk also decreased with greater age and years driving experience.

Conclusions
Individuals with a history of mTBI are more likely to deliberately drive in a manner that risks the safety of others and are at heightened risk of being involved in a recent car crash. Future work should examine predictor variables in greater depth and incorporate performance-based measures of driving ability to further explore these topics.

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