Research Papers

The effect of .03% and .05% BAC and partial sleep deprivation on driving behaviour by age, sex and executive control: a randomized, placebo controlled experiment

Version 1
Date added July 9, 2018
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Category 2018 CARSP XXVIII Victoria
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 3C
Author/Auteur Brown, Bechara, Bhatti, Gruber, Ouimet
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

3C - Brown


Consumption of low "legal" doses of alcohol (i.e., < .08% BAC) and partial sleep deprivation (SD) are common behaviours in young drivers, despite prevention policies in place. Both factors can exert impair cognitive capacities (executive control [EC], decision making [DM]) required for safe driving. Individual differences in EC and DM capacities when sober and rested may also interact with BAC and SD to predict level of driving impairment. Systematic investigation of the impact of alcohol and partial SD in vulnerable young male and female drivers (18 to 34 yrs.) has rarely been undertaken. To test the following overarching hypotheses: i) low dose BAC interacts with partial SD to exert a multiplier effect on safe driving capacities in simulation compared with either BAC or SD conditions alone ; ii) their impact on driving capacities is moderated by age and sex, and EC and DM capacities when sober and rested; iii) their impact on driving capacities is mediated by changes in EC and DM following exposure to BAC and SD conditions. Healthy young male and female drivers aged 18-34 years. Design: A 3 (0% placebo; .03%; .05% BAC) X 2 (no SD placebo; 1 hour SD x 6 nights) randomized, double blinded placebo controlled, virtual reality experiment with stratification by age (18-21; 22-25; 30-34) and sex. N = 300.
DV: Driving performance and risky driving via driving simulation. Moderation/mediation variables: EC using the CANTAB functional neuropsychological battery; DM using the Iowa Gambling Task. Understanding of the systematic causal and mechanistic impact of effects of low "legal" BAC and subtle but common levels of SD on the safe driving capacities of young drivers can inform more targeted prevention strategies. "