Improving life after brain injury Need to talk? 0808 800 2244

Home About brain injury Further information Research Brain injury research

New research assesses ...

New research assesses interventions for driving after TBI Main Image

New research assesses interventions for driving after TBI

Fri 07 Jul 2017


To describe the goals, processes, resources and outcomes of on-road training lessons provided to drivers with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who failed an initial occupational therapy (OT) driver assessment.


Descriptive cohort study using file audit design of 340 drivers with mild to severe TBI. Measures included; number and goals of on-road training lessons and reassessments, time from injury to independent driving, license restrictions, years licensed, physical/visual impairments and injury severity.


Initial OT driver assessment was passed by 72% (n = 246) cases. Of the 28% (n = 94) who failed, 93% (n = 87) resumed driving following on-road training; 42 (45%) with an open licence, 45 (48%) with restricted licence and seven (7%) failed to meet licencing standards. Individuals required, on average, 7.0 driving lessons (14 driving instructor hours), and 2.5 on-road reassessments, (9.8 OT and 3.8 driving instructor hours). Lesson goals were recommended to develop compensatory strategies for cognitive impairments (64%), improve previously learned driving skills (57%), improve confidence (53%), and address physical (26%) or visual impairment (16%).


Investment in on-road training lessons addressing individual goals, followed by reassessment and use of restricted licenses, can achieve successful return to driving following TBI.

  • Implications for Rehabilitation
  • Driver rehabilitation specialists should offer on-road driver training to individuals with moderate to severe TBI who fail an initial driver assessment.

  • Goal directed driving lessons can train individuals with moderate to severe TBI to compensate for cognitive, physical, visual, and psychological barriers to driving, enabling them to pass a reassessment and return to driving.

  • Restricted licences may enable some drivers with TBI to meet their driving needs and achieve safe return to driving.

Reference: Ross, P.E., Stefano, M.D., Charlton, J., Spitz, G., & Ponsford, J.L. (2017). Interventions for resuming driving after traumatic brain injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, pages 1-11.


Share this page

Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

© Copyright Headway 2019  -  Site designed and developed by MEDIAmaker