Research Reports - Traumatic brain injury, driver aggression and motor vehicle collisions

Accid Anal Prev. 2015 Apr 29;81:1-7

Ilie G(1), Mann RE(2), Ialomiteanu A(3), Adlaf EM(2), Hamilton H(2), Wickens
CM(2), Asbridge M(4), Rehm J(2), Cusimano MD(5)

OBJECTIVE: This study examines the associations between lifetime traumatic brain
injury (TBI), driver aggression, and motor vehicle collisions among a population
sample of adults who reside in the province of Ontario, Canada.
METHOD: A cross-sectional sample of 3993 Ontario adults, aged 18-97 were surveyed
by telephone in 2011 and 2012 as part of Center for Addiction and Mental Health's
ongoing representative survey of adult mental health and substance use in Canada.
TBI was defined as trauma to the head that resulted in loss of consciousness for
at least five minutes or overnight hospitalization.
RESULTS: An estimated 91% (95% CI: 90.0, 91.9) of individuals in this sample held
a valid Ontario driver's license at the time of testing. Among those, 16.7%
reported a history of lifetime TBI and 83.3% reported no TBI. The prevalence of
TBI was higher among men than women. Relative to licensed adults without TBI,
adults with a history of TBI had significantly higher odds of engaging in serious
driver aggression in the past 12 months, such as making threats to hurt another
driver, passenger or their vehicle (AOR=4.39). These individuals also reported
significantly higher odds (AOR=1.74) of being involved in a motor vehicle
collision that resulted in hurting themselves, their passenger(s) or their
vehicle.
CONCLUSION: This is the first population-based study to demonstrate a
relationship between a history of TBI and higher rates of serious driver
aggression and collision involvement. Given the large proportion of adult drivers
with a history of TBI, these individuals may account for a disproportion burden
of all traffic safety problems. Whether the increased road safety risk of adults
with a history of TBI is reflective of neurocognitive deficits or is merely
evidence of a cluster of unsafe activities produced by a higher risk lifestyles
requires further research attention.

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