Alcohol and Driving Skills
A low blood alcohol content (BAC) led to a slight improvement in
driving skills by experimental subjects, according to researchers
at Yale University.
Research participants tried to “drive” safely using
a driving simulator. Their driving skills were tested with no blood
alcohol content, at .04 BAC, at .08 (the legal limit for driving),
and at .10.
Although there was a slight improvement in driving ability at the
lowest BAC level (.04), abilities decreased as BAC increased above
that level. The investigators speculate that, at the lower BAC level,
people were aware that they were mildly impaired and compensated
for the effects of the alcohol by trying harder to be “good
There are many ways to avoid driving while impaired by alcohol.
One of the most popular is the use of a designated driver.
- Katz, Abram. Yale study pinpoints alcohol reactions. The Middleton
Press, November 26, 2004.
- Alberta Transportation & Utilities. Designated Driver?
A Smart Choice. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: 1996 (www.ama.ab.ca/trafsafe/thkf_des.htm/
- Associated Press, "Designated Driver Campaign Working,"
Houston Chronicle, 11-30-97, p. A14.
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reckless drivers for cocaine and marijuana. New England Journal
of Medicine, 1994, 331, 518-522.
- Jones, R. K., and Lacey, J. H. Historical Documentation and
Assessment of Existing Literature in the Field of Alcohol-Traffic
Safety Evaluation (1980-Present). Contract No. DTNH22-88-C-05126.
Springfield, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, 1991.
- National Commission Against Drunk Driving. A Guide to Community-Based
Designated Driver Programs. (www.ncadd.com/designated/designated1.html).
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Get the Keys:
How You Can Intervene. (www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/alcohol/innocent/index.html/
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), www.nhtsa.dot.gov
and National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) of the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/.)
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in dealing with drunk drivers. Alcohol, Drugs and Driving,
1990, 6, 33-60.
Project CHEERS to the Designated Driver (http://web.missouri.edu/~adaptwww/CHEERS1.html/
- Ross. H. L. Confronting Drunk Driving: Social Policy for Saving
Lives. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1992,
- Simpson, H. M., and Mayhew, D. R. The Hard Core Drinking Driver.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 1991,
- U.S. Department of Transportation. A Guide to Developing a
Community-Based Designated Driver Program. (www.ncadd.com/designated/designated2.html/