Brain Inj. 2010;24(3):464-71.

Return to driving within 5 years of moderate-severe traumatic brain injury.

Novack TA, Labbe D, Grote M, Carlson N, Sherer M, Arango-Lasprilla JC, Bushnik T, Cifu D, Powell JM, Ripley D, Seel RT.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To examine return to driving and variables associated with that activity in a longitudinal database. RESEARCH DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of a large, national database. METHODS AND PROCEDURES: The sample was comprised of people with predominantly moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) enrolled in the TBI Model System national database at 16 centres and followed at 1 (n = 5942), 2 (n = 4628) and 5 (n = 2324) years after injury. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Respondents were classified as driving or not driving at each follow-up interval. Five years after injury, half the sample had returned to driving. Those with less severe injuries were quicker to return to driving, but, by 5 years, severity was not a factor. Those who were driving expressed a higher life satisfaction. Functional status at rehabilitation discharge, age at injury, race, pre-injury residence, pre-injury employment status and education level were associated with the odds of a person driving. CONCLUSIONS: Half of those with a moderate-severe TBI return to driving within 5 years and most of those within 1 year of injury. Driving is associated with increased life satisfaction. There are multiple factors that contribute to return to driving that do not relate to actual driving ability.