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Among young sober drivers, their history of alcohol use may be a key factor in how easily they are able to maintain attention while driving

June 23, 2020

We are most likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as binge drinking or unsafe driving, during adolescence and young adulthood. When combined, alcohol is a key contributor to motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of death for youth. Importantly, alcohol-related effects to brain and behavior appear to last well beyond “sobering up”. The Yale DrivSim Lab was interested in understanding if there were impairments to attention abilities while driving among youth with a history of drinking. A recent study published in Advances in Transportation Studies by Dr. Banz and the DrivSim Lab group shows that recent binge drinking and “heavy drinking symptoms”, such as blackouts or hangovers, are related to brain deficits while performing a secondary task during a driving simulation study. To Dr. Banz and her colleagues in the Yale DrivSim Lab, this means that even after the immediate effects of heavy drinking have worn off, this high-risk behavior can mean a greater vulnerability to distracted driving.

Submitted by Federico Vaca on July 08, 2020