Fitness-to-drive after mild traumatic brain injury: mapping the time trajectory of recovery in the acute stages post injury

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    Introduction Little is known about the trajectory of recovery in fitness-to-drive after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). This means that health-care professionals have limited evidence on which to base recommendations to this cohort about driving. Objective To determine fitness-to-drive status of patients with a mTBI at 24 h and two weeks post injury, and to summarise issues reported by this cohort about return to driving. Method Quasi-experimental case-control design. Two groups of participants were recruited: patients with a mTBI (n = 60) and a control group with orthopaedic injuries (n = 60). Both groups were assessed at 24 h post injury on assessments of fitness-to-drive. Follow-up occurred at two weeks post injury to establish driver status. Main Measures Mini mental state examination, occupational therapy-drive home maze test (OT-DHMT), Road Law Road Craft Test, University of Queensland-Hazard Perception Test, and demographic/interview form collected at 24 h and at two weeks. Results At the 24 h assessment, only the OT-DHMT showed a difference in scores between the two groups, with mTBI participants being significantly slower to complete the test (p = 0.01). At the two week follow-up, only 26 of the 60 mTBI participants had returned to driving. Injury severity combined with scores from the 24 h assessment predicted 31 of the variance in time taken to return to driving. Delayed return to driving was reported due to: not feeling 100 right (n = 14, 23 ), headaches and pain (n = 12, 20 ), and dizziness (n = 5, 8 ). Conclusion This research supports existing guidelines which suggest that patients with a mTBI should not to drive for 24 h; however, further research is required to map factors which facilitate timely return to driving.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-55
    Number of pages6
    JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • acute care
    • fitness-to-drive
    • mild traumatic brain injury

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