Gaze entropy measures detect alcohol-induced driver impairment Academic Article uri icon


  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is an ongoing cause of road traffic accidents. The biphasic nature of alcohol effects on subjective experience appears to contribute to the prevalence of drink-driving, as people perceive the declining phase of the BAC curve as recovery from intoxication and are more willing to drive despite significant impairments in objectively measured functions. The present study investigates whether alcohol-induced changes in gaze behaviour can be detected during engagement in a simulated driving task. In a repeated-measures and placebo-controlled design, this study examines the biphasic influence of moderate alcohol intake (0.6 g/kg) on measures of gaze behaviour and simulated driving performance. Twenty-two healthy young adults completed three driving sessions (baseline, ascending and descending) under two conditions (placebo, alcohol) while their eye movements were simultaneously recorded. The results revealed that gaze behaviour as measured by gaze transition entropy (GTE) and stationary gaze entropy (SGE) and driving performance measured by the standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP) of the vehicle, were significantly affected by alcohol across the ascending and descending sessions. The alcohol-induced reduction in GTE with an increase in SGE is discussed as alcohol's impact on top-down modulation of gaze resulting in more dispersed and erratic pattern of visual scanning. The observed changes in gaze behaviour also mediated the influence of alcohol upon driving performance. These results have significant implications for the development of driver monitoring systems that can detect alcohol-induced impairment.

publication date

  • 2019