Alcohol-related traffic fatality and injury continue to be a major public health problem, prompting the need for research aimed at identifying characteristics of DUI drivers in efforts to improve treatment and prevention. Although DUI offenders report traits of impulsivity, suggesting poor inhibitory control and heightened reward sensitivity, the specific cognitive characteristics underlying such behavioral dysregulation have not been systematically studied in the laboratory. The over-arching hypothesis of this application is that deficient inhibitory control and increased sensitivity to the disinhibiting effects of alcool contribute to the risk of DUI, and possibly to its recidivism. The proposed project views DUI offenders from a cognitive dysfunction perspective that targets deficits in specific mechanisms of behavioral regulation. The research will directly evaluate driving performance and mechanisms of self-regulation (e.g., inhibitory control, reward-seeking) in recidivist DUI offenders and will test hypotheses that these high-risk drivers respond differently to alcohol, wit increased disinhibition and risk-taking, and that these factors contribute to their decisions to drive after drinking. The application represents an innovative application of state-of-the-art assessments and techniques to identify the specific neurocognitive characteristics that underlie risky driving behavior, and which could be candidate mechanisms for treatment and prevention. The project aims fit well with the recent NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement (PA-10-255), Behavioral Regulation Mechanisms of Alcohol Dependence and Related Phenotypes aimed at promoting research on the effects of alcohol on neurocognitive mechanisms implicated in impulse control.

Public Health Relevance

One in every 127 licensed drivers is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and recidivism rates are high, with over one-third of DUI offenders re-offending within three years. The proposed project examines DUI drivers from a cognitive dysfunction perspective that targets deficits in specific mechanisms of behavioral regulation. Identification of specific cognitive deficits in DUI offenders is critical for guiding new interventions that will move treatment beyond general addiction counseling. PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 06/09) Page Continuation Format Page

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Cognition and Perception Study Section (CP)
Program Officer
Bloss, Gregory
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University of Kentucky
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Van Dyke, Nicholas A; Fillmore, Mark T (2017) Laboratory analysis of risky driving at 0.05% and 0.08% blood alcohol concentration. Drug Alcohol Depend 175:127-132
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