Background image

Foundational Research

Estimating driver risk using alcohol biomarkers, interlock blood alcohol concentration tests and psychometric assessments: initial descriptives

Marques P, Tippetts S, Allen J, Javors M, Alling C, Yegles M, Pragst F, Wurst F.
First Published: 01 Feburary 2011   DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02738.x


Strong alcoholic drinks on dark background

Sourced by Freepik©Stock


To identify alcohol biomarkers and psychometric measures that relate to drivers’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC) patterns from ignition interlock devices (IIDs).

Design, Setting, Participants, Measurements

In Alberta, Canada, 534 drivers, convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), installed IIDs and agreed to participate in a research study. IID BAC tests are an established proxy for predicting future DUI convictions. Three risk groups were defined by rates of failed BAC tests. Program entry and followup blood samples (n=302, 171) were used to measure phosphatidyl ethanol (PETH), carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT), gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) and other biomarkers. Program entry urine (n=130) was analyzed for ethyl glucuronide (ETG) and ethyl sulfate (ETS). Entry hair samples were tested for fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) (n=92) and ETG (n=146). Psychometric measures included the DSM-4 Diagnostic Interview Schedule Alcohol Module, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Timeline Followback (TLFB), the Drinker Inventory of Consequences (DRINC), and the Temptation and Restraint Inventory (TRI).


Except for FAEE, all alcohol biomarkers were significantly related to the interlock BAC test profiles; higher marker levels predicted higher rates of interlock BAC test failures. PETH, the strongest with an overall ANOVA F ratio of 35.5, had significant correlations with all nine of the other alcohol biomarkers and with 16 of 19 psychometric variables. Urine ETG and ETS were strongly correlated with the IID BAC tests.


The findings suggest several alcohol biomarkers and assessments could play an important role in the prediction and control of driver alcohol risk when relicensing.

Keywords: alcohol, driver, ignition interlock, biomarkers, assessment, DUI, phosphatidyl ethanol (PETH), alcohol-related risk, PEth, BAC test

Contact USDTL


Client Services

By Phone: 1.800.235.2367
Business Hours (CST)
Monday....................7am-7pm Tuesday....................7am-7pm Wednesday.............7am-7pm Thursday..................7am-7pm Friday........................7am-7pm Saturday...................8am-5pm

Contact Client Services

Newsletters, Posters, and Catalogs

Our print materials will keep you up to date on the latest news in drug and alcohol testing.

Request Literature

Request Your Collection Supplies

For your convenience, USDTL provides test collection supplies at no additional charge.

Order Supplies