Using alcohol intoxication goggles (Fatal Vision® goggles) to detect alcohol related impairment in simulated driving.Traffic Inj Prev 2017; 18(1):19-27TI
Fatal vision goggles (FVGs) are image-distorting equipment used within driver education programs to simulate alcohol-related impairment. However, there is no empirical evidence comparing the behavioral effects associated with wearing FVGs to alcohol intoxication. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of FVGs in producing alcohol-related impairment in simulated driving.
Twenty-two healthy males (age: 23 ± 3 years, mean ± SD) participated in a placebo-controlled crossover design study involving 4 experimental trials. In each trial, participants completed a baseline level simulated driving task followed by an experimental driving task, involving one of 4 treatments: (1) a dose of alcohol designed to elicit 0.080% breath alcohol concentration (BrAC; AB), (2) an alcohol placebo beverage (PB), (3) FVG (estimated % blood alcohol concentration [BAC] 0.070-0.100+), and (4) placebo goggles (PGs). The driving tasks included 3 separate scenarios lasting ∼5 min each; these were a simple driving scenario, a complex driving scenario, and a hazard perception driving scenario. Selected lateral control parameters (standard deviation of lane position [SDLP]; total number of lane crossings [LCs]) and longitudinal control parameters (average speed; standard deviation of speed [SDSP]; distance headway; minimum distance headway) were monitored during the simple and complex driving scenarios. Latency to 2 different stimuli (choice reaction time [CRT]) was tested in the hazard perception driving scenario. Subjective ratings of mood and attitudes toward driving were also provided during each of the trials.
Neither placebo treatment influenced simulated driving performance. Mean BrAC was 0.060 ± 0.010% at the time of driving on the AB trial. Lateral control: In the simple driving scenario, SDLP and LC were not affected under any of the experimental treatments. However, in the complex driving scenario, significantly greater SDLP was observed on both the FVG and AB trials compared to their respective baseline drives. LC increased significantly from baseline on the AB trial only. Longitudinal control: Speed was not affected by any of the experimental treatments; however, SDSP increased significantly from baseline on the FVG trial. A significant reduction in distance headway and minimum distance headway was detected on the FVG trial compared to baseline. Hazard perception: Neither AB nor FVG trials were influential on CRT. Subjective mood ratings were significantly altered on the AB and FVG trials compared to baseline and placebo conditions. Participants reported reduced willingness and ability to drive under the active treatments (AB and FVG) than the placebo treatments (PB and PG).
FVGs may have some utility in replicating alcohol-related impairment on specific driving performance measurements. Hence, the equipment may offer an alternative approach to researching the impact of alcohol intoxication on simulated driving performance among populations where the provision of alcohol would otherwise be unethical (e.g., prelicensed drivers).