Judgment Processes Relevant to Drunk Driving1

Authors

  • Robert Turrisi,

    1. University At Albany. State University of New York
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  • James Jaccard

    Corresponding author
    1. University At Albany. State University of New York
      Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Robert Turrisi or Dr. James Jaccard, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222.
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  • 1

    Preparation of this paper was supported by NIAAA grant AA0687501. The authors would tike to thank Patricia Dittus, Sue Kelly, Choi Wan, Kevin Williams, and Tracey Wilson for comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Robert Turrisi or Dr. James Jaccard, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222.

Abstract

The present study uses psychological theories of judgment and decision making in analyzing cognitions relevant to drunk driving decisions. Four groups of individuals were examined: (a) those having multiple convictions for drunk driving, (b) those having one conviction for drunk driving, (c) those never having been convicted of drunk driving but, who admit to having driven while intoxicated, and (d) those who drive, but claim to not have driven while intoxicated. Cognitions examined included perceived drunkenness relative to legally allowable blood alcohol levels for driving, perceived probabilities for being stopped and arrested and being involved in an automobile accident if driving drunk, and drunk driving tendencies. Perceived probabilities of being stopped and arrested and being involved in an accident were evaluated as a function of manipulations of 4 cues in a 2 × 2 × 4 × 3 factorial design (Distance to Destination × Weather and Road Conditions × Number of Drinks × Time to Consume). Perceived drunkenness was evaluated as a function of the manipulations of two cues in a 4 × 3 factorial design (Number of Drinks Consumed × Time to Consume). Results indicated the presence of several misperceptions and inappropriate response tendencies that potentially can be modified with educational efforts. These results are discussed in terms of the differential impact of previous arrest for DWI on different DWI-related judgments.

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