Efficacy of a Driving Program on Safe Community Mobility for Combat Veterans

Published: January 10th, 2017

Category: Research, Returning Combat Veterans, Special Populations

Principal Investigators

Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA (2011-2013)

Sandra Winter, PhD, OTR/L (2013- 2016)

Co-Investigators

Charles Levy, MD

William Mann, PhD

Medical Monitor

David FitzGerald, MD

Project Personnel

Consultant

Miriam Monahan, OTD, OTR/L, CDRS, CDI

Driving Rehabilitation Specialists

Kyle Platek, BHS

Amanda Lutz, BHS

Graduate Research Assistant

Abraham Yarney, MS

Research Assistants

Emily Szafranski

Stephanie Sursky

Kayla Miller

Amanda Marcinko

Stephanie Diaz

Collaborators

University of Florida Department of Occupational Therapy

North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

Funding Source

Department of Defense (DOD) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC)

Synopsis

Driving is a portal into general life functioning, and impaired driving skill can pose a serious threat to the combat veterans (CV), passengers and others. Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) among post deployed CV are one of the top four causes of injury and disability, hospitalization, and outpatient visits across the military, and are a leading cause of death among Army service members. The risk of motor vehicle (MV) death is significantly increased in years immediately following return from the battlefield. In sum, the effects of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other blast related injuries, combined with the “battlefield” mindset and lack of community reintegration programs place CV at risk for MVC and fatalities. In this efficacy study we used simulated driving evaluation to measure driving performance of CVs.  The overarching objective of this proposal was to discern, after clinical and simulated driving performance testing, if an Occupational Therapy Driving Intervention (OT-DI) improved veterans’ driving performance (less errors when assessed on simulator) over the short term (immediately following intervention) and intermediate term (3 months).