Driving after binge drinking.Am J Prev Med 2009; 37(4):314-20AJ
Although binge drinking is strongly associated with alcohol-impaired driving, little is known about the prevalence of or risk factors for driving after binge drinking.
The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of, and risk factors for, driving during or shortly after a specific binge drinking episode.
The data were analyzed in 2007 and 2008 from 14,085 adults from 13 states in 2003 and 14 states in 2004 who reported binge drinking and answered an additional series of questions about binge drinking behaviors as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Binge drinking was defined as the consumption of five or more drinks during a drinking occasion.
Overall, 11.9% of binge drinkers drove during or within 2 hours of their most recent binge drinking episode. Those drinking in licensed establishments (bars, clubs, and restaurants) accounted for 54.3% of these driving episodes. Significant independent risk factors for driving after binge drinking included male gender (AOR = 1.75); being aged 35-54 or > or = 55 years compared to 18-34 years (AOR = 1.58 and 2.37, respectively); and drinking in bars or clubs compared to drinking in the respondent's home (AOR = 7.81). Drivers who drank most of their alcohol in licensed establishments consumed an average of 8.1 drinks, and 25.7% of them consumed > or = 10 drinks.
Because binge drinking and subsequent driving were common in establishments licensed to sell alcohol, and because licensing is conditional on responsible beverage service practices (i.e., not selling to intoxicated people), efforts to prevent impaired driving should focus on enforcing responsible beverage service in licensed establishments.