|M.Sc Student||Abasi Amal|
|Subject||Patterns of Drinking Energy Drinks and their Effect on|
Driving Performance Among Arab Youth in Israel
|Department||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||Supervisors||Dr. Wafa Elias|
|Professor Yoram Shiftan|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This study examines different aspects of driving under the influence of energy drinks among Arab teenagers. Firstly, we aim to examine the influence of energy drinks on driving patterns and involvement in crashes. In addition, we examine whether and to what degree is the individual’s willingness to consume energy drinks influenced by various variables: socio-demographic factors; attitudes towards the consumption of energy drinks (including associated risks); subjective norms; fatalism; self-control; and social interactions.
The first part of this study employed a case-control design consisting of 106 Arab students of whom 83% were undergraduate students with an average age of 22.5 years with driving- experience of about 4.9 years. We used a before/after research method. The participants were put in two groups, a control group made up of (n=30) non-drinking students and an experimental group (n=76) all of whom drank. 80% of the participants were either Muslims or Druze and 20% were Christian. We used several related tools to test the effect of energy drinks:
1. The blood pressure and heart rate test was performed using the same electronic device for all participants in the trial.
2. In order to document driving behavior a driving simulator was used. It measured various driving performances and violations including collisions, speeding, stopping at traffic lights, and centerline crossing. Two driving scenarios were prepared for the study: the first for training on the simulator and the second in order to examine changes in driving capabilities.
The second part of the study used a survey, which was distributed among students from the Arab sector studying at three institutes of higher education in Israel. The survey was distributed manually among the students, and were all facilitated by the author. On top of the 106 students who participated in the experiment, 194 additional students answered the survey.
The survey consisted of three parts: the first part included demographic and socio-economic questions. The second part was directed at the participants who habitually drink energy-drinks, and asked about drinking patterns (frequency, mode and location). The third part was given to both groups, and included questions about the various attitudes toward drinking energy drinks, including: subjective norms, self-confidence, accepted in society, etc.
The results of the study showed that drinking one can of energy drink doesn't have a significant effect on driving performance nor on the risk of being involved in a road accidents. However, immediately after drinking the can, there was a significant increase in blood pressure and a decrease in heart rate. On the other hand, the results of the logistics regression model for frequency of drinking showed that there was a significant correlation between the frequency of drinking and the attitudes held by the participants; such as the perception of health risks, impairment of driving performance, and subjective norms towards the consumption of energy drinks, while demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as age, residence, religion, and number of years driving experience were not related to the frequency of drinking.
Keywords: Energy Drinks, Driving Performance, Risk Perception, Subjective Norms.