Conference Proceeding

Psychophysiological Measures of Driver Distraction and Workload While Intoxicated

  • Michael E Rakauskas (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
  • Nicholas J Ward (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
  • Edward Bernat (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
  • Meredith Cadwallader (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
  • Christopher Patrick (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
  • Dick de Waard


The crash risk associated with cell phone use while driving is acontentious issue. Many states are introducing Advanced Traveler InformationSystems (ATIS) that may be accessed with cell phones while driving (e.g., 511Traveler Information Services). In these contexts, there is a need for relevantresearch to determine the risk of cell phone use. This study compared driverperformance while conversing on a hands-free cell phone to conditions ofoperating common in-vehicle controls (e.g., radio, fan, air conditioning) andalcohol intoxication (BAC 0.08). In addition, the study examined the combinedeffects of being distracted and being intoxicated given that there may be a higherrisk of a crash if the driver engages in a combination of risk factors. Duringsimulated traffic scenarios, resource allocation was assessed through an eventrelatedpotential (ERP) novelty oddball paradigm. Intoxicated drivers were lessattentive to all stimuli and drivers engaged in secondary tasks had weakerresponses to unexpected novel sounds in brain regions associated with evaluativeprocessing. Drivers conversing on the cell phone and in-vehicle tasks while soberhad lower accuracy during the target tone task than intoxicated drivers notcompleting any secondary task.

How to Cite:

Rakauskas, M. & Ward, N. & Bernat, E. & Cadwallader, M. & Patrick, C. & de Waard, D., (2005) “Psychophysiological Measures of Driver Distraction and Workload While Intoxicated”, Driving Assessment Conference 3(2005), 150-157. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2005 the author(s)

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Published on
28 Jun 2005
Peer Reviewed