European Brain Injury Society

Among EBIS’s goals, one is to promote TBI rehabilitation and social reinsertion. Another EBIS aim is to press governing authorities to reduce the diversity in care and rehabilitation opportunities in legal systems across Europe. The decision to organize two meetings on “Returning to Driving” after a traumatic brain injury  (the first in 2001 and the second in 2003) (Mazzucchi & Gradenigo 2002, 2003) represented the direct consequence of these coexistent purposes.

EBIS’s bureau and members have to consider the relevant psychological and social impact that the return to driving a car represents for every traumatic brain injured person being readied for re-entry in the social context, how this essential skill is poorly assessed in the clinical practice and rarely rehabilitated, how the return to driving after a TBI is neglected by legal system. In our opinion, it is urgent to draw the attention of clinicians, neuropsychologists, rehabilitators, family associations, legal doctors, lawyers, insurances and driver specialists to this problem and to find common procedures at the different levels of post-traumatic intervention, and also to find common systems across Europe.

Among the EBIS  membership we have some experts in this field, and European experts on driving car assessment and rehabilitation after TBI collaborate to the two congress organization. Together we review the current literature on this field in a critical way considering the concrete goals that EBIS would achieve and denounce the diffused neglect of the problem at the different competence levels, the lack of an exhaustive and standardized  assessment of the skills required for a safe driving; the lack of any definite and coherent rehabilitative program for those TBI patients who could return to driving;  the lack of co-ordinated intervention among rehabilitators and driving specialists for those TBI subjects who seem able to return to driving, but who need a supervision on-road driving; and denounce the lack of common European  legal procedures before licensing and  re-licensing TBI subjects.

The scientific contributions were collected and published in two dedicated issues (1.2).

Being convinced of the importance of this topic and of the necessity to urge the institutions on this, EBIS decided to press it’s membership to continue to work in this direction. Two concrete results have been reached: the publication of a special issue in the journal Brain Injury (3) and the promoted publication, up to now in the  Italian language, of the book “La guida dell’autovettura dopo cerebrolesione” (4).

In particular, this last publication includes chapters devoted to the legal point of view, to the rules and the opportunities for the return to driving for brain injured persons, traffic psychology, the neuromotor and the neuropsychological consequences after severe cerebral lesions which could interfere with driving fitness, the assessment of motor, cognitive and behavioural capacities of a brain injured subjects who aspire to return to driving, the visual and hearing deficits which could interfere with driving ability, the neuromotor and the cognitive rehabilitation aimed to the return to driving, some line of research on this field, also applying the Traffic Psychology tests battery, and  the point of view of the family associations.

EBIS’s aim and hope is that other members will pick up and continue this work in their countries.

  1. Gradenigo B., Mazzucchi A (editors) Return to Driving after Traumatic Brain Injury. Part I. Europa Medicophysica, Vol. 37 (4),  December 2001.
  2. Gradenigo B., Mazzucchi A (editors) Return to Driving after Traumatic Brain Injury. Part II. Europa MedicophysicaVol. 38 (1), March 2002.
  3. Perino C., Carrion J.L. (editor) Special Issue Brain Injury, 19, 2005
  4. Mazzucchi A. (editor) La guida dell’autovettura dopo cerebrolesione. Athena editrice, Modena, 2005

Anna Mazzucchi
Fondazione don Gnocchi, Centro S. Maria dei Servi, Parma