11 October 2012

Head-Injured Drivers Pose Safety Risk. Part 4

Posted by Jody under: Mental Health .

“State licensing bureaus are not sure what to do with people experiencing brain disorder other than those who have the misfortune of having seizures,” says Tom Novack, Ph.D., a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

“Despite the growing number of programs that provide on-the-road evaluations to people with traumatic brain injury, many people still return to driving with little or no guidance,” Novack says after reviewing the study. “We should be equally concerned about those who are capable of driving and are not, since this places them in a dependent status in many communities.”

Ceasing driving need not take away independence, provided safer options for mobility are explored, explains Liisa Hakamies-Blomqvist, Ph.D., professor of social science at the University of Helsinki in Finland, and a senior researcher at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute in Link?¶ping.

“Lack of adequate mobility may lead to restrictions in daily activities and have negative health consequences, which should be balanced against the possibility of increased driving risks,” she says. “Women tend to give up driving more easily then men.”

Sometimes the burden of convincing the patient that driving is unsafe may fall on the family. Taking away the keys is difficult and may seem harsh, as driving is often so crucial to regaining independence. Yet to avoid further injuries, “tough love” may be the best policy for all concerned.

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