Research Papers

Young drivers' perceptions of in-vehicle alcohol devices

Version 1
Date added June 27, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 5A
Author/Auteur Marie Claude Ouimet
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



Young drivers, especially males, are particularly at risk of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In-vehicle active and passive devices could play an important role in preventing DUI. Perceived efficacy and acceptability of these devices, as well as previous exposure to them, are important considerations in their adoption, but need to be studied in more detail. The goal of this presentation is to examine young drivers' perceptions of in-vehicle alcohol devices i) by sex and ii) as a function of prior exposure to their use. Males and females 20-24 years old participated in two driving simulation experiments. In both studies, participants were randomly assigned to different alcohol doses: placebo (0.00 g/kg), 0.25 g/kg, 0.45 g/kg or 0.65 g/kg. Assignment was followed by simulation tasks and, after participants' blood alcohol levels returned to zero, by questions about the perceived efficacy and acceptability of in-vehicle devices to promote safe driving. In Study 1 (n = 70), participants were not introduced to the alcohol device. In Study 2 (n = 160), after first being familiarised with the in-vehicle alcohol device while sober, participants under the influence of alcohol were randomized to another condition: feedback vs. no feedback on blood alcohol level from the device. While perceived efficacy of in-vehicle alcohol devices was generally high (above 80%) for all participants, acceptability differed by sex and prior exposure to the device. More females than males agreed that in-vehicle alcohol devices should be universally installed in new vehicles (71.9% vs. 58.8%, p < 0.05), as well as in their own (71.1% vs. 47.8%, p < 0.001). Prior exposure to the device, irrespective of randomisation status, was associated with participants' stronger agreement with universal installation (74.3% vs. 47.4%, p < 0.001), including in their own vehicles (69.5% vs. 39.5%, p < 0.001). While perceived efficacy was high, acceptability was more equivocal and associated with sex effects and prior familiarisation. Young male drivers, the subgroup the most at risk, were not as accepting of in-vehicle devices for preventing DUI. Prior familiarisation appears to increase acceptability of in-vehicle alcohol devices, though causality was not established here. The meaning of these findings is discussed in light of current interest for in-vehicle devices as a DUI prevention strategy. Universal installation of in-vehicle alcohol devices could play an important role in preventing DUI. Users' acceptability of these devices, especially in the subgroups most at risk, might be one of the important challenges to address if passive devices targeting the general driving population become available on a large scale.

Marie Claude Ouimet