Improving OEF/OIF/OND Veterans’ Driver Fitness and Community Mobility: Effects of a One-Day Driving and Community Mobility Approach for Rural Settings

Published: March 12th, 2021

Category: Research, Returning Combat Veterans, Special Populations

Principal Investigators

Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA

Keith Myers, PT, DPT, MBA

Co-Investigators

Sandra Winter, PhD, OTR/L

Nichole Stetten, PhD, MPH, CPH

Project Personnel

Graduate Research Assistant

Isabelle Wandenkolk, MPH, CPH

Research Assistant

Alba Fontes

Collaborators

University of Florida Department of Occupational Therapy

North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

Funding Source

Office of Rural Health North Florida / South Georgia Veterans Healthcare System

Synopsis

Driving errors made by returning Veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) is a critical Veteran safety and public health issue. Motor vehicle crashes (MVC) are the second leading cause of death among post-deployed combat Veterans. Interventions to mitigate driving errors and at-risk behaviors of post-deployed Veterans is paramount to improving their driving safety. Unfortunately, Veterans, especially those living in rural areas, face significant barriers to seeking and engaging in driver rehabilitation services. Embedding 1-day Driver Fitness and Community Mobility (DF+CM) workshops into rural-serving community organizations and VHA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) can improve Veteran access to driver rehabilitation services in rural regions. This study will build on existing partnerships with Veteran-centered community organizations to identify at-risk OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who may not otherwise seek driving interventions or community mobility resources. This project makes an original and important contribution to the goal of advancing research on the detection of safe driving ability of Combat Veterans and understanding the personal experiences underlying their unsafe driving habits. This study will examine the feasibility of the DF+CM 1-day workshop and if successful driving mishaps (MVC and other adverse effects) in the community may be prevented by facilitating safe driving for rural Veterans.

project team collage

Team members: Drs. Sherrilene Classen, Sandra Winter, Nichole Stetten, and Ms. Isabelle Wandenkolk

For more information or if interested in participating in this study, please contact us by phone: (352) 273-6043 or email: VeteranDrivingWorkshop@ufl.edu