Team in Transdisciplinary Studies on Driving While Intoxicated

stop signRoad accidents are an important public health problem:

  • According to the World Health Organization, road accidents are the 10th leading cause of mortality worldwide and the first leading cause among those15 to 29 years old
  • In Canada, alcohol consumption is implicated in 30% of these mortalities
  • In Canada, the social costs associated with these accidents have been evaluated at several billion dollars per year
  • Driving while intoxicated is sanctioned by the Criminal Code. Despite an increase in sanctions for offenders, a significant sub-group of people continue to engage in this high-risk behaviour.

That is why in 2009, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) awarded a grant to a group of researchers to create the CIHR team in transdisciplinary studies on driving while intoxicated.

Targeted knowledge application

The CIHR team favours a transdisciplinary approach and the research projects are multidisciplinary and translational, (i.e., targeted towards knowledge application). While the researchers study the brain, they  also focus on prevention and intervention strategies, policy implementation, and legislation.

Research projects

Six main themes motivate our research:

Recidivism prediction factors

  • Longitudinal studies on the neurobiological and neuropsychological mechanisms of driving under the influence
  • Comparative analysis based on gender regarding the etiology of driving while intoxicated and recidivism

Recidivism prediction model

  • A project that uses innovative statistical methods (automatic learning, artificial intelligence) to predict recidivism and help stakeholders with decision-making.

Consumption of alcohol and young drivers

  • Randomized experimental trials that use a driving simulator to better comprehend the role of social influence, personality, and the consumption of alcohol on risky road behaviours

Effectiveness of brief interventions

  • Randomized controlled trials of a brief intervention with recidivists targeted at reducing alcohol consumption and driving while intoxicated

Knowledge transfer

  • Creating introductory guides on drinking and driving that are founded on conclusive data and specifically adapted for –and by– legislators, legal authorities, decision makers, and program managers

Research development in poorer countries

  • Collaborations with various countries of lesser means to encourage research on driving while intoxicated (to come)


The team comprises researchers from the Douglas Research Centre, the University of Montreal, and the University of Sherbrooke.

Principal investigators
Thomas G. Brown, Douglas Research Centre
Louise Nadeau, University of Montreal
Marie Claude Ouimet, University of Sherbrooke

Associate investigators
Christina Gianoulakis
Martin Lepage
Ng Mien Kwong Ng Ying Kin
Jens C. Pruessner
Norbert Schmitz
Peter Seraganian, Concordia University
Bruce G. Simons-Morton, National Institutes of Child Health and Development
Jacques Tremblay

Candide Beaumont, Association des centres de réadaptation en dépendance du Québec
Douglas J. Beirness, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
Donald L. Fisher, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Michel Landry, Centre Dollard-Cormier
Robyn Robertson, Traffic Injury Research Foundation
David Shinar, Israel’s National Road Safety Authority
Ward Vanlaar, Traffic Injury Research Foundation
Lyne Vézina, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec

Graduate students
Farah Averill
Derek Albert
Nevicia Case
Manal El-Deb
Rachel Grégoire
Jose Arturo Santisteban Lopez
Angeline Tchomgang
Laurence Vézina-Poirier
Sakiko Yamaguchi

Undergraduate students – Research assistants
Emmanuelle Beaulieu
Virginie Boisvert-Robitaille
Andréanne Bourdeau
Caroline Champagne
Camille Deshaies-Guilbault
Amélie Duchesne-Hamelin
François-Charles Legault
Judy Wester

Research associates
Lidia Corado
Martin Paquette
Lysiane Robidoux Léonard

Lucie Legault
Perry Pavilion, E-4106
Tel.: 514-761-6131, ext 3420