The effect of d-methamphetamine on simulated driving performance



Publication Details

Silber, B. Y., Croft, R. J., Downey, L. A., Papafotiou, K., Camfield, D. A. & Stough, C. (2012). The effect of d-methamphetamine on simulated driving performance. Human Psychopharmacology, 27 (2), 139-144.


Objectives: Methamphetamine is considered to be one of the most popularly abused drugs by drivers; however, its exact effect on driving and driving behaviour has yet to be thoroughly investigated. This being despite methamphetamine's increased prevalence in injured and deceased drivers.

Methods: Twenty healthy recreational illicit stimulant users (10 male and 10 female), aged between 21 and 32 years (mean = 25.4 years, SD = 3.3 years) attended two testing sessions involving oral consumption of 0.42 mg/kg d-methamphetamine or a matching placebo. The drug administration was counter-balanced, double-blind, and medically supervised. At each session driving, performance was assessed 2.5 h post drug administration.

Results: d-methamphetamine (0.42 mg/kg) did not significantly impair overall simulated driving performance 2.5 h post drug administration. At the individual driving variable level, participants in the d-methamphetamine condition were observed to be driving slower when an emergency situation occurred (T = 44, p < 0.05), but interestingly, participants in both conditions recorded average speeds in excess of the speed limit (100 km/h) when the emergency situations occurred. The d-methamphetamine condition did also produce four times more infringements where participants did not stop at red traffic light in comparison to the placebo, but this effect was only evident at a trend level (T = 7, p = 0.11).

Conclusions: The findings presented herein suggest that d-methamphetamine administered at the levels supplied did not impair driving performance in a manner consistent with epidemiological evidence. Further research is certainly required to elucidate the effects of various doses of methamphetamine, alone and in combination with other legal and illicit substances.

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