THE INTERACTIVE EFFECTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE AND ALCOHOL ON DRIVING SKILLS

This one-year research investigated the interactive effects of carbon monoxide and alcohol (Nthanol) on highway driving performance. The research was conducted in three phases. In each phase four young college, non-smoking students were tested. In the first two phases, four treatment levels were used, i.e., in Phase 1 the target COHb levels being 2 & 8%, combined with 0 and 0.05% BAL and in Phase 2 the target COHb levels being 8 and 12% each, combined with 0 and 0.05% BAL. In the third Phase two treatment levels, namely both COHb level and BAL at zero percent and 12% COHb level with 0.05% BAL were used. The tasks employed were primarily open road driving, car following, sign reading, and curve negotiation. The results were analyzed for COHb effects, COHb x BAL interaction and bench mark relations. Based on the previous research, the COHb effects on human functions were hypothesized as perceptual narrowing, decreased visual activity, time compression, and distance expansion. The results of COHb effect from this study were in substantial agreement with the earlier work. COHb effects were observed to be significant only in tasks with higher information processing demands such as curve driving, car following, etc. CO-alcohol interaction was observed to be synergistic (combined effect greater than the sum of individual effects) in driver control measures in curve negotiation tasks at 12% COHb level. In the visual information processing measures, although the results were not statistically significant, they showed consistently antagonistic (combined effect less than the sum of the individual effects) type of o-alcohol interaction. It was concluded that, under the test conditions, 0.04% BAL will either have no interaction effect with COHb or may even offset COHb effects. On the bench mark relations the general conclusion was that 0.04% BAL has even less effect on driver performance than the 8% COHb level. In general there was a high correlation between task demands and the observance of subtle COHb effects. CO-alcohol interaction effects may be entirely synergistic if 0.08% BAL or more is combines with CO, using subjects from susceptible populations in night driving.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by Coordinating Research Council, Inc., and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Ohio State University, Columbus

    190 North Oval Drive
    Columbus, OH  USA  43210
  • Authors:
    • Weir, F W
    • Johnson, D F
    • Anglen, D M
    • Rockwell, T H
    • Neuhardt, J B
    • Harshman, D J
    • Balasubramanian, K N
  • Publication Date: 1975-1

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 123 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00130752
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: EPA 68-02-0329
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 21 1976 12:00AM