Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Mark T. Fillmore

Abstract

Licensed drivers arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol have increased rates of vehicle crashes, moving violations, and traffic tickets (Evans, 2004). To date, no research has examined specific self-regulatory mechanisms of the DUI driver under a dose of alcohol that might underlie risky driving behavior. The present study examined the degree to which DUI drivers display an increased sensitivity to the acute impairing effects of alcohol on driving performance and overestimate their driving fitness following alcohol consumption. Adult drivers with a history of DUI and a demographically-matched group of control drivers without a DUI were tested following a 0.65 g/kg dose of alcohol and a placebo. Results indicated that while alcohol impaired several measures of simulated driving performance, there were no differences between DUI offenders and controls on any of these measures. Compared with controls, intoxicated DUI drivers self-reported greater ability and willingness to drive as BAC declined despite no differences in levels of self-reported intoxication or BAC estimation. These findings provide evidence that DUI drivers might perceive themselves as more fit to drive after drinking despite clear evidence for their behavioral impairment. These findings could have important implications in the decisions to drink and drive.

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