Alcohol Intoxication Checklist: A Naturalistic Approach

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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


This effort sought to determine the prevalence of particular visual and behavioral indicators for alcohol intoxication using data collected in the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2 NDS). A list of visual and behavioral cues was identified from previous research and served as the basis for identification. The prevalence of several of these cues reached statistical significance between judged states of intoxication. Some cues include, but are not limited to, lids-heavy, dozing, exhilarated, distracted, talkative, inability to sit upright, yawning, and leaning against window. While the study was able to determine the prevalence of the markers, several limitations temper interpretation. First, a large proportion of trips evaluated occurred between midnight and 4:00 a.m., when drivers are likely to be drowsy and exhibit many of the same visual and behavioral indicators also expected to be present in intoxicated individuals. Thus, impacts of drowsiness may be confounded with those of intoxication. In addition, the same visual cues were used both to determine the degree of intoxication as well as the behaviors most associated thereto, thus resulting in a logical conundrum. The results of this research should be viewed as exploratory work that can aid in the generation of hypotheses for future work.



transportation safety, naturalistic driving studies (NDS), intoxication, driving under the influence