Crash risk factors related to individuals sustaining and drivers following traumatic brain injuries

David M. Neyens, Linda Ng Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Some crashes result in drivers experiencing (or sustaining) a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while other crashes involve drivers that have already experienced a TBI. The objective of this study is to examine the factors that influence these two TBI crash groups. Methods: Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health's Brain Injury Registry and Department of Transportation's crash records were linked together and used in logistic regression models to predict the likelihood of a driver sustaining a TBI in a crash and those who drive after a TBI. Results: Between 2001 and 2006, there were 2382 crashes in which an individual sustained a TBI. As expected, a higher likelihood of sustaining a TBI was observed for motorcycle drivers who did not wear a helmet and in crashes that resulted in total or disabling vehicle damage. Focusing specifically on the post-TBI drivers (and not occupants), 1583 were involved in crashes. These post-TBI drivers were less likely to wear seatbelts or have passengers in the vehicle at the time of the crash, and were more likely to crash at night. Post-TBI drivers were also involved in significantly more multiple crashes (about 14%) when compared to drivers who have not experienced a TBI (about 10%) during the study period. When controlling for gender, date of injury, and severity of TBI (using Glasgow Coma Scale), individuals that sustained a TBI when they were younger were more likely to be involved in multiple crashes. Conclusions: Different factors influence the crash likelihood for those that sustain a TBI in a crash and those that crash following a TBI. In general, post-TBI drivers have a higher occurrence of multiple crashes and this should be further explored to guide driver rehabilitation, evaluation, and training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Case-control study
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Crash data
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Law
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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