TACKLING DRIVER IMPAIRMENT IN EUROPEAN PROJECTS
 
Brookhuis, K., University of Groningen, Netherlands
 
This paper will give an overview of some recent European Union projects on the assessment of driver impairment. Whereas previous research has focused on vehicle technology or Human Machine Interfacing, more recent efforts have been based on methods to detect the presence of substances (ROSITA) or to measure driver impairment, preferably the level of impaired performance (CERTIFIED). The results of these projects will soon bring forward issues with respect to licensing and related procedures. This paper will summarize the objectives and main conclusions of the most recent projects. For example, the CERTIFIED EU Research Project (DG TREN Contract No RO-98- RS.3054) aimed to contribute to the existing knowledge base concerning drugs and traffic safety, supporting the development of methods for roadside testing applicable to driver impairment from licit and illicit drugs. In this project, the nature of driver impairment and concomittant accident risk, associated with drugs and medicines were studied and compared to other well-known accident related factors such as speeding, fatigue and alcohol consumption. A thorough survey was carried out into current methods that may be applied to roadside impairment testing with the specific aim to serve as a tool for enforcement purposes. Finally, the user, legal and operational requirements for future roadside testing protocols were investigated. To meet the established requirements of a new, suitable roadside test, it is likely that it comprises several types of measurement in a standardized format. Account should be taken of both within- and between-subject variances of drivers, and an adequate normative database needs to be established. The test should maximize the chances of detection while keeping the number of false positives to a minimum.