Introduction: The combination of drinking and driving is globally understood as a risk factor for road traffic crashes and disastrous outcomes such as injury and disability or death. However, the magnitude of the problem may not always be known in many countries, particularly where there are legislative loopholes. In Brazil, until December 2012, verification by breathalyzer of drinking and driving was dependent on drivers’ acceptance of the tests after being stopped by the police.
Objective: To describe the epidemiological profile of drinking and driving behaviors of a sample of drivers from Curitiba, Brazil, and explore the sociodemographic characteristics of those interviewed at police sobriety checkpoints.
Methods: Drivers were selected and interviewed at police checkpoints on public roads in Curitiba. The local police, after informed consent, applied breathalyzer tests to check the drivers’ blood alcohol content and the results were compared with data previously collected through interviews containing self-reports of drinking and driving. Data were collected between March and November 2012.
Results: Of the 511 drivers asked to participate in the study, 398 (77.9%) agreed to give a roadside interview. Most respondents were single men between the ages of 18 and 29 years, with 8.3% of interviewed drivers self-reporting alcohol consumption in the last 6 h before driving. On the other hand, only 46.2% of the whole sample accepted the breathalyzer testing. Among those breathalyzed by the police, 2.7% tested positive for alcohol.
Discussion: This study, conducted on public roads in Curitiba, shows a noticeable proportion of drivers voluntarily self-reporting drinking and driving. However, a smaller percentage was confirmed to have positive blood alcohol content, likely due to the high breathalyzer refusal rate.
- drinking and driving
- road traffic injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Safety Research
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health