Drugs, driving, and models to measure driving impairment

  • Katherine Owens
  • Johannes G. Ramaekers


Research into the effects of various drugs on driving performance is becoming more important as epidemiological studies indicate that the incidence of drugs in drivers is increasing. Considering that this type of research is likely to guide laws and behaviours, it is important that the tests being used to determine whether certain drugs are impairing are sensitive, valid and reliable. This chapter presents the most common tests used in research to evaluate behaviours relating to driving. The research varies from the use of simple cognitive tasks, to simulators, and to driving in real traffic. The findings suggest that there are limitations to various methods of testing; however, considerations and precautions can be taken to ensure that we measure relevant processes and use sensitive tests for drug impairment.


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Copyright information

© Birkhéuser Verlag/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Owens
    • 1
  • Johannes G. Ramaekers
    • 2
  1. 1.Katherine Owens (nee Papafotiou)Road Safety and Drug Use Unit, Ipsos-Eureka Social Research InstituteMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Dept of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and NeurosciencesMaastricht UniversityThe Netherlands

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