Impairment related to blood amphetamine and/or methamphetamine concentrations in suspected drugged drivers

Accid Anal Prev. 2006 May;38(3):490-5. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2005.11.005. Epub 2005 Dec 15.


Experimental studies have investigated effects of low oral doses of amphetamine and methamphetamine on psychomotor functions, while less work has been done on effects of high doses taken by abusers in real-life settings. There are indications that intake of high doses may impair traffic related skills, and that abuse of amphetamines may cause hypersomnolence at the end-of-binge. The present study aimed at investigating the concentration-effect relationship between blood amphetamines concentrations and impairment in a population of real-life users. Eight hundred and seventy-eight cases with amphetamine or methamphetamine as the only drugs present in the blood samples were selected from the impaired driver registry at The Norwegian Institute of Public Health. In each case the police physician had concluded on whether the driver was impaired or not. 27% of the drivers were judged as not impaired, while 73% were judged as impaired. There was a positive relationship between blood amphetamines concentrations and impairment. The relationship reached a ceiling at blood amphetamines concentrations of 0.27-0.53 mg/l. Younger drivers were more often judged impaired than older drivers at similar concentrations. Despite the performance enhancing qualities of amphetamines demonstrated in some low dose laboratory experiments; this study revealed a positive relationship between blood amphetamines concentration and traffic related impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine / blood*
  • Amphetamine / toxicity
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / blood*
  • Methamphetamine / toxicity
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Registries


  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamine