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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2000 Jun;15(3):895-908.

Evaluating fitness to drive after cerebral injury: basic issues and recommendations for medical and legal communities.

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  • 1Director of Psychology and Neuropsychology Services, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, New Jersey 07092, USA. tgalski@kessler-rehab.com


Specialists in rehabilitation are typically called upon to evaluate and render an opinion about whether or not a person can be entrusted to resume driving. And, because driving is an individual privilege to be balanced against the public's right to safety and protection from the dangers of a driver whose residual deficits may impede ability to drive safely, these specialists have developed a number of methods to assess fitness to drive. Unfortunately, many evaluators remain unfamiliar with research used as basis for evaluations or lack understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of tests in use. Therefore, there may be unquestioning trust in tests and methods that leads to errors of significant consequence in decisions about fitness to drive as well as unawareness of expanding risks of litigation that can emanate from inappropriate recommendations. This article intends to draw attention to issues, considerations, and problems underlying the conduct of driver evaluations, including focus on ways in which the legal and medical communities approach question of fitness, legal and medical definitions and terminology, responsibility for assessment as well as tests and methods used in evaluations. Conclusions are drawn from discussion of these matters and recommendations are outlined for addressing identified problems at the interface between medical and legal communities.

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