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Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2019 Jun;31(3):159-166. doi: 10.1017/neu.2019.2.

Efficacy of intervention at traffic schools reducing impulsive action, and association with candidate gene variants.

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1Department of Education,University of Tartu,Tartu,Estonia.
3Department of Psychology,Division of Neuropsychopharmacology,University of Tartu,Tartu,Estonia.
4Department of Family Medicine and Public Health,University of Tartu,Tartu,Estonia.



Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people. Recognition of the contribution of impulsive behaviour may help novice drivers to behave more safely. Previously a brief intervention focusing on impulsive traffic behaviour conducted by psychologists in driving schools had been effective. The aim of this study was an independent re-evaluation of the effect of the intervention, as conducted by driving school teachers, and assessment of the potential associations with candidate genotypes.


Driving school students (mean age 22.5, SD=7.9) were divided into intervention (n=704) and control (n=737) groups. Driving school teachers were trained to administer the intervention which consisted of a lecture and group work (1.5 h in total) on impulsivity. Traffic offences and crashes were monitored during 3 years, using police and traffic insurance fund databases. Functional polymorphisms of the dopamine transporter (DAT) and serotonin transporter genes (DAT1 VNTR and 5-HTTLPR) were assessed.


The intervention significantly lowered general traffic risk and prevalence of traffic accidents. DAT1 VNTR 9R carriers, particularly males, had higher general traffic risk in the whole sample. Female 5-HTTLPR s' allele carriers of the intervention group had the lowest general traffic risk. Intervention was most effective in female DAT1 VNTR 10R/10R homozygotes.


Brief impulsivity-centred intervention appears as a promising strategy for preventing risk-taking behaviour in novice drivers and can be fully integrated to driving school curriculum.


dopamine; genotype; humans; impulsive behaviour; serotonin

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