Drivers’ Performance and Brain Workload Activities after Alcohol Consumption using Driving Simulation
Highway crashes are a serious social and public health problem across the globe. The issue of alcohol impaired driving is a contributory factor identified as a focal area for the US-DOT, FHWA, NHTSA, AASHTO, ITE, as well as other interest groups such as MADD, that have been working on several programs to reduce fatalities and severe injuries associated with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). According to the NHTSA, in the United States and Puerto Rico in 2016, 10,497 people lost their lives in crashes where alcohol consumption was present. In the last five years, according to FARS, approximately one-third of the deaths involved drivers with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels higher than 0.08%. Even responsible drivers sometimes struggle with the decision of whether to drive after socially drinking as they consider to be still capable of driving safely. The proposed research study will address this problem by identifying a set of factors to determine how many drinks a subject can drink and reasonably perceive that can drive safely with the use of the Driving Simulator of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). A new factor included in this research is the drivers’ cognitive workload or brain workload. This variable will be measured using a dry-electrode EEG and the algorithms to measure workload that has been developed by the providers of this type of equipment. The identification of these factors would allow state, local and federal institutions to target specific population groups in their educational and awareness campaigns.