Driving After Severe TBI Increases Risk of Causing a Car Accident

car on road

A recent study found that people who resume driving after a severe traumatic brain injury are more than twice as likely to cause a car accident than they were before injury. In the study, only 50% of people with a severe traumatic brain injury decided to start driving again. But 63% of those who did were subsequently involved in a car accident, and most of those held personal responsibility for the accident.

Driving is a complex task that requires attention, concentration, and memory-skills that are very often compromised after a brain injury. In addition, brain injury is often linked to impulsiveness, anxiety, and poor decision-making, which can make driving even more dangerous.

People with a severe brain injury are often not aware of their own limitations. The decision to return to driving should include neuropsychological testing to assess for potential limitations as well as the opinions of caregivers or clinicians.

Bivona U, D'Ippolito M, Giustini M, et al. Return to driving after severe traumatic brain injury: Increased risk of traffic accidents and personal responsibility. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (September 2011).