Student drivers the morning after drinking: A willingness to violate road rules despite typical visual attention

Substantial research has investigated the effects of alcohol consumption on cognitive functions. However, little research has been conducted which examines the effects of evening alcohol consumption on next morning driving performance. The current study investigated the effects of a night out involving drinking on students’ morning after simulator driving performance, conducted as a within-subject naturalistic study. Thirty student drivers between the ages of 19–23 participated. Driving performance measures and eye movements were recorded while participants performed a short-simulated motorway driving task between 9 and 10 a.m., both after an evening consuming alcohol and on a control morning (no alcohol consumed). The task required drivers to respond to a speed limit and hazardous vehicle, with driving performance being compared over four road sections (speed reduction section, hazard section and two control sections). Sleep duration the night before the drives and breath alcohol content immediately before each drive were recorded. The main findings indicate that despite the majority of drivers being legal to drive, in the morning after condition drivers tended to travel at higher maximum speeds, travel for a longer period of time over the speed limit and demonstrate a larger variance in speed. However, no differences were found in visual attention measures. These findings suggest that the morning after drinking is associated with dangerous driving behaviour in terms of violating road rules even when no deficits in attention are observed. The implications for road safety are discussed, focusing on informative programmes to educate drivers of the dangers associated with morning after driving.


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  • Accession Number: 01696036
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 25 2019 11:47AM