Get access

Effects of central nervous system drugs on driving: speed variability versus standard deviation of lateral position as outcome measure of the on-the-road driving test

Authors

  • Joris C. Verster,

    Corresponding author
    1. Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2. Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Correspondence to: J. C. Verster, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht University, Universiteitsweg 99, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 30 253 6909; Fax: +31 30 253 7900 E-mail: j.c.verster@uu.nl

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Thomas Roth

    1. Sleep Disorders and Research Center, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Background

The on-the-road driving test in normal traffic is used to examine the impact of drugs on driving performance. This paper compares the sensitivity of standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP) and SD speed in detecting driving impairment.

Methods

A literature search was conducted to identify studies applying the on-the-road driving test, examining the effects of anxiolytics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and hypnotics. The proportion of comparisons (treatment versus placebo) where a significant impairment was detected with SDLP and SD speed was compared.

Results

About 40% of 53 relevant papers did not report data on SD speed and/or SDLP. After placebo administration, the correlation between SDLP and SD speed was significant but did not explain much variance (r = 0.253, p = 0.0001). A significant correlation was found between ΔSDLP and ΔSD speed (treatment–placebo), explaining 48% of variance. When using SDLP as outcome measure, 67 significant treatment–placebo comparisons were found. Only 17 (25.4%) were significant when SD speed was used as outcome measure. Alternatively, for five treatment–placebo comparisons, a significant difference was found for SD speed but not for SDLP.

Conclusions

Standard deviation of lateral position is a more sensitive outcome measure to detect driving impairment than speed variability. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary