Comparing the effects of oxazepam and diazepam in actual highway driving and neurocognitive test performance: a validation study

S Jongen*, E F P M Vuurman, J G Ramaekers, A Vermeeren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Screening of drug-induced performance impairment is needed to provide meaningful information for users and prescribers regarding the impact of drugs on driving. The main objective was to assess the effects of oxazepam 10 mg (OXA10), oxazepam 30 mg (OXA30), and diazepam 10 mg (DIA10) on standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP) in a highway driving test in actual traffic and to determine the ability of eight neurocognitive tests to detect comparable effects.

METHODS: Twenty-three healthy volunteers participated in a four-way double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. The highway driving test was conducted between 4 and 5 h after drug intake. A range of neurocognitive tests was conducted before and after driving, 2 and 6 h post-treatment, respectively.

RESULTS: Mean SDLP increased by 1.83, 3.03, and 7.57 cm after OXA10, DIA10, and OXA30, respectively. At 2 h post-treatment, all neurocognitive tests, except the useful field of view, showed performance impairment in all active treatments. Effect sizes (ES) were moderate for OXA10, large ES for DIA10, and largest ES for OXA30. Modest correlations were found between changes in SDLP and performance in the attention network test (ANT), the divided attention test (DAT), and the psychomotor vigilance test (PVT).

CONCLUSION: OXA10 caused minor, DIA10 moderate, and OXA30 severe driving impairment. No neurocognitive test was both dose dependently sensitive and able to be associated with driving impairment. No neurocognitive test can replace the on-the-road highway driving test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283–1294
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date2 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Attention
  • Oxazepam
  • SDLP
  • MG
  • On-the-road highway driving test
  • Neurocognitive tests
  • Diazepam


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