The Effects of Driver Distraction for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries

David M. Neyens, Linda Ng Boyle, Maria T. Schultheis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of secondary tasks on the driving performance of individuals with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Background: Studies suggest detrimental impacts of driving with TBI or while distracted but the impact of driver distraction on TBI drivers is not well documented. Method: Bayesian regression models were used to estimate the effect of relatively simple secondary tasks on driving performance of TBI and healthy control (HC) drivers. A driving simulator was used to develop prior distribution of task effects on driving performance for HCs. An on-road study was conducted with TBI and HC drivers to generate effect estimates for the posterior distributions. The Bayesian models were also compared to frequentist models. Results: During a coin-sorting task, all drivers exhibited larger maximum lateral acceleration and larger standard deviation of speed than in a baseline driving segment. There were no significant driving performance differences between the TBI and the HC drivers during the tasks. Across all tasks, TBI drivers spent more time looking at the tasks and made more frequent glances toward the tasks. Conclusions: The findings show that even drivers with mild TBI have significantly longer and more glances toward the tasks compared to the HCs. Application: This study demonstrates a Bayesian approach and how the results differ from frequentist statistics. Using prior distributions in a Bayesian model helps account for the probabilities associated with otherwise unknown parameters. This method strengthens the Bayesian parameter estimates compared to that of a frequentist model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1472-1488
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Bayesian analysis
  • TBIs
  • driver distraction
  • driving performance
  • instrumented vehicle study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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