Effects of Prolonged Wakefulness Combined with Alcohol and Hands-Free Cell Phone Divided Attention Tasks on Simulated Driving

This article reports on a study in which simulated driving ability was assessed following administration of alcohol (at an estimated blood level of 0.05%), and combined prolonged wakefulness, while participants were undertaking divided attention tasks over a hands-free mobile phone. The study included 23 young healthy individuals who drove 10 km of simulated driving under four conditions: alcohol, alcohol and 19 hours wakefulness, alcohol and 23 hour wakefulness, and while sober. Results showed that the combination of alcohol and 24 hour sustained wakefulness produced the highest driving impairment, significantly beyond the alcohol effect itself. No significant changes of study measures occurred following alcohol intake in unrestricted sleep conditions. The authors conclude that apparently "safe" blood alcohol levels in combination with prolonged wakefulness resulted in significant driving impairments. The mobile phone served as a stimulation for the sleepy driver and thereby a mechanism for increasing task load and reducing the monotony of the drive. In the absence of sleep restriction, alcohol consumption and concurrent phone psychometric tasks had positive effects on speed while driving. The authors caution that these results may not extend to road driving, where other factors contribute to the complexity of driving behavior.

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  • Authors:
    • Iudice, A
    • Bonanni, E
    • Gelli, A
    • Fritelli, C
    • Iudice, G
    • Cignoni, F
    • Ghicopulos, I
    • Murri, L
  • Publication Date: 2005


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01010593
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 4 2005 7:35AM