Driving experience, alcohol and monotonous simulated driving: behavioral and subjective measures

The aim of the present study is to evaluate driving performance during monotonous task and demanding low cognitive resources as a function of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), and driving experience. Monotony is associated to environments characterized by a repetitive way responsible for increase of fatigue and decrease of alertness, cognitive interest, and responsiveness. Alcohol consumption impairs the skills necessary for safe driving and a linear relationship has been demonstrated between BAC and crash risk, in particular for young drivers. Assuming that, during monotonous driving task, performance should be impaired with a BAC increased, this impairment should be significant earlier for Young Novice Drivers (YND) than for Young Experienced Drivers (YED). YND (18 years, less than two months of driving license) and YED (21 years, 3 years of driving license) were invited to participate in three simulated driving sessions separated by a minimum of 24 hours in which BACs were randomly manipulated (0.0, 0.2 and 0.5 g/L). Every experimental session was between 1:45 and 3:45 pm during postprandial period, around one hour after the drink. The task consisted to drive on a circuit representing typical highway road during 45 min and to maintain a steady speed (110 Km/h) and a stable position on the right lane. Before and after each driving session, participants responded to Thayer scale (subjective alertness). After each driving session they also responded to an adaptation of the NASA-TLX (NASA-Task Load Index). Speed and lane position were continuously recorded. Driving performance data were analyzed for 8 time steps of 5-min because we excluded the first five minute of driving. Results from the self-report scales showed triple interaction and significant differences between the two groups of drivers. Indeed, for the NASA-TLX and the Thayer alertness index, no difference was observed as a function of BAC for YND but a time-on-task effect was obtained. Conversely, for YED, results showed a linear increase of subjective alertness and perceived effort depending on the BAC conditions. Concerning driving performance, effect of alcohol, time-on-task, group and triple interaction were obtained. Both groups of young drivers appeared to be sensitive to time-on-task and to alcohol condition for different driving performance indicators (SDLP, LP, SDSP, MSD) but they showed differences. Indeed, overall the YND seemed to show perturbations in the highest BAC condition (0.5 g/l) while the YED seemed disrupted more linearly by the increase of BAC (0.0, 0.2 and 0.5 g/l) and time-on-task. As expected, during monotonous driving task, performance impaired with a BAC increase, and the first effect of fatigue appears in temporal window of 10 to 30 min for different indicators and for both groups. This decrease of performance with alcohol was already observed for BAC 0.2 for both groups. Moreover, YED seemed to be more aware of the alcohol effect on their driving performance than YND as suggested by their respective subjective evaluations, and YND seemed to use more regulatory mechanisms than YED to preserve their driving performance.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: 15p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01629392
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Institut Francais des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l'Amenagement et des Reseaux (IFSTTAR)
  • Contract Numbers: RP1-J13165, ALCOLAC
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Mar 17 2017 10:39AM