Return to driving within 5 years of moderatesevere traumatic brain injury

Thomas A. Novack, Don Labbe, Miranda Grote, Nichole Carlson, Mark Sherer, Juan Carlos Arango-Lasprilla, Tamara Bushnik, David Cifu, Janet M. Powell, David Ripley, Ronald T. Seel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


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 moderatesevere 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 moderatesevere 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • Driving
  • Outcome
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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