Mild to moderate dehydration combined with moderate alcohol consumption has no influence on simulated driving performance

Irwin, Christopher, Leveritt, Michael, Shum, David H. K. and Desbrow, Ben (2013) Mild to moderate dehydration combined with moderate alcohol consumption has no influence on simulated driving performance. Traffic Injury Prevention, Accepted Author Version 1-49. doi:10.1080/15389588.2013.810335

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Author Irwin, Christopher
Leveritt, Michael
Shum, David H. K.
Desbrow, Ben
Title Mild to moderate dehydration combined with moderate alcohol consumption has no influence on simulated driving performance
Journal name Traffic Injury Prevention   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1538-9588
Publication date 2013-07-09
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/15389588.2013.810335
Volume Accepted Author Version
Start page 1
End page 49
Total pages 49
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Many people consume alcoholic beverages following a period of physical activity that results in fluid loss through sweating (e.g. after sport, work). Adequate rehydration following physical activity may not occur, consequently resulting in the consumption of alcohol in a dehydrated state. This may have serious implications for the safety of individuals operating motor vehicles. Therefore, this study investigated the impact of mild-moderate dehydration in combination with moderate alcohol consumption on simulated driving performance.

Methods: Fourteen healthy males participated in a placebo-controlled cross-over design study involving 4 experimental trials (separated by ≥4d). In each trial, participants were dehydrated by ~2% body mass through exercise. After a 30 min recovery, participants completed a 15 min computerised simulated driving task (drive 1). In two of the trials, participants were provided with water equivalent to either 50% or 150% body mass loss and also received salt capsules (NaCl, 50mmol/L). A set volume of alcohol or placebo was then consumed in each trial, incorporating the conditions: dehydration-placebo (DP), dehydration-alcohol (DA), partial rehydration-alcohol (PA), and full rehydration-alcohol (FA). The volume of the alcoholic beverage was individually calculated and intended to raise BAC to ~0.05%. The same driving task was then re-administered (drive 2). Primary outcome measures of driving consisted of standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP), number of side and centre line crossings (LC), number of failures to stop at red traffic signals (FTS), number of impacts/collisions with other vehicles or objects (IMP), and time to collision with a specified lead vehicle (TTC). In addition, reaction time (RT) and incorrect inhibition response (IIR) behaviour to critical events were collected throughout each experimental drive.Subjective ratings of mood and estimates of alcohol intoxication and driving impairment were also recorded in each trial.

Results: No effects of trial condition were observed on any of the driving performance measures or on subjective ratings of mood, alcohol intoxication, and driving impairment. Standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP) was higher following the consumption of alcohol compared to the placebo trial. However, no differences in SDLP were recorded between the alcohol trials, indicating that hydration level had no observable interaction with alcohol to influence SDLP performance.

Conclusions: Overall, it appears that dehydration does not exacerbate impairment in driving performance caused by mild-moderate alcohol intoxication. Further research is required to clarify the effects of alcohol and dehydration at various alcohol doses.
Keyword Ethanol
Driving performance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 09 Jul 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 25 Nov 2013, 00:18:56 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences