Methodologies for establishing the relationship between alcohol/drug use and driving impairment: Differences between epidemiological, experimental, and real-case studies

H. Gjerde, J.G. Ramaekers, J.G. Mørland

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article


Experimental, epidemiological, and real-case studies have different advantages and limitations when used to study the effect of substance use on the risk for involvement in a road traffic crash. It is easier to perform well-controlled experimental studies than well-controlled epidemiological studies due to difficulties related to selection bias, information bias, and confounding. On the other hand, it is difficult or impossible to perform experimental studies using single and repeated substance doses similar to those used by drivers and problematic drugs users. Real-case studies indicate which substances may cause observed impairment and involvement in road traffic crashes and at which concentrations; however, those studies cannot be used to quantify crash risks or determine causality. All three types of studies are needed to obtain a broad and complete picture as they may complement each other when assessing the effects of substance use on road traffic safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-160
Number of pages20
JournalForensic Science Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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