Drug use and driving behaviors among drivers with and without alcohol-related infractions


Trends Psychiatry Psychother.




Abstract Introduction Brazil is one of the countries with the highest rates of alcohol-related traffic infractions, but little is known about the profile of the drivers who commit them. Identifying the characteristics of impaired drivers is essential for planning preventive actions. Objective To compare drug use and driving behavior profiles of drivers with and without alcohol-related infractions. Methods 178 drivers stopped at routine roadblocks were assessed by traffic agents who conducted standard roadblock procedures (document verification; request of a breathalyzer test [BT]). Drug use and driving behavior data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Subjects were divided into three groups: drivers who refused the BT (RDs, n = 72), drivers who tested positive on the BT (PDs, n = 34), and drivers who had committed other infractions (ODs, n = 72). Results The proportion of alcohol use in the last year was higher among RDs (100%) than in the PD and OD groups (97.1% and 72.2% respectively, p < 0.001). Lifetime prevalence of cannabis and cocaine use for the overall sample was 44.3% and 18.2%, respectively. Fewer individuals in the OD group (31.5%) reported having been stopped at roadblocks in the previous year compared to the PDs (55.9%) and RDs (48.6%, p = 0.03). However, a higher proportion of RDs reported drunk driving in the same period (87.5%; PD 69.7%; OD 26.9%; p < 0.001). Conclusion Essential differences among groups were observed. RDs had a higher proportion of alcohol use and drunk driving in the previous year; drivers who fit into this particular group may be unresponsive or less responsive to social deterrence and enforcement actions.

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