October 7, 1983

'If you drink, don't drive' motto now applies to hangovers as well

JAMA. 1983;250(13):1657-1658. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340130003001

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Although the detrimental effects of being drunk while driving are well known, a recent report from Sweden's National Road and Traffic Research Institute indicates that a hangover—that dizzy, queasy, next-morning feeling—may also diminish driving ability by as much as 20% even when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0 mg/dL.

Furthermore, according to the report, a person's ability to carry out complex driving maneuvers is reduced for at least three hours after the BAC reaches zero, and hangover-impaired subjects demonstrate a marked inability to subjectively determine if they are fit to drive at all.

The study, carried out in Sweden by Hans Laurell and Jan Törnros of Statens väg-och trafikinstitut (VTI), was published as VTI Rapport N. 222A last year. Since publication, Swedish road officials have launched a public information campaign to tell people about the possible hazards of driving with a hangover. Laurell recently told JAMA MEDICAL NEWS: "We've