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Third-party-funded project

Driving under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

In the year 2000, more than 40,000 people were killed and around 1.7 million were injured on European roads. A consistently high proportion of these can be attributed to psychoactive substances. The EU project DRUID, in which over 30 institutes from 18 countries participate, aims to reduce the number of road accidents by providing information about the frequency with which people drive under the influence of psychoactive substances, their actual impact on traffic safety, possible safety measures, and promising research methods.

Within this project the Center for Traffic Sciences (IZVW) is engaged in a meta-analysis of experimental studies on alcohol. Empirical findings concerning the effect of alcohol are collected and weighted according to methodological standards. The results of the individual studies are summarized for different performance parameters (e.g. attention, reaction time, lane keeping) in order to quantify the impairing effects of alcohol on driving-related skills as dependent on the blood alcohol concentration. The same is done for medication and illegal drugs.

Furthermore, the Center is responsible for estimating the frequency of driving under the influence of illegal drugs. The representative approach of a roadside survey is inappropriate for various reasons. This data is therefore to be acquired by asking drug users about their driving and drug-taking habits. The time frame for processing this epidemiological investigation comprises three years. The inquiry is directed at drug consumers who hold a driving license and participate actively in road traffic. The subjects are surveyed once at the beginning of the study regarding their sociodemographic data and personality. These data are used for the description of the sample and for getting some information concerning rehabilitation and prevention. This means personal traits which increase the risk for drug driving may be determined. In addition, situational factors which increase the probability to drive under the influence of drugs will be identified keeping an exact record of situations occurring each day. To give this daily information, the subjects are provided with a BlackBerry, which contains a questionnaire concerning drug usage and routes taken. From the incidence of drug driving within the sample, the actual incidence of drug driving in Germany will be estimated via general mobility figures and known drug prevalences.

Key words:
    psychoactive substances
    traffic safety

Projekt period: from 10.2006 to 10.2011

Funding institution:
EU ,Granting date: 13/09/06