The contrasting depressant and disinhibitory effects of alcohol both can cause highway accidents. The depressant effect involves the motivational components of sedation and self-destructiveness and the cognitive components of memory loss and learning deficit. These give rise to inattention or fatigue; typical consequences are driving off the road or into an obstacle during routine driving, and insufficient response to an emergency. The disinhibitory effect involves the motivational components of decreased fear and increased assertiveness and the cognitive components of impairment of self-criticism and dissociation from sober habits. These give rise to risk-taking or disorganization; typical consequences are speeding or risky maneuvers during routine driving, and loss of control in an emergency. Although each motivational and cognitive component can be isolated conceptually and to some degree in laboratory research, several components are involved together in most highway accidents.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Presented at the Vermont Symposium on Alcohol, Drugs and Driving, Warren, Vermont, 13-15 October. 1972.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Safety Council

    425 North Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL  United States  60611
  • Authors:
    • Barry, H
  • Publication Date: 1973-9

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00080735
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-013 872
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 26 1983 12:00AM