Perceived driving safety and estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) the morning after drinking amongst young Australians attending a music festival: a cross-sectional survey.Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2018 06 20; 13(1):25.SA
Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes remain a significant and costly public health issue globally. Particularly young people are over-represented in these incidents. This study set out to explore the factors that influence individuals' perceptions of their safety to drive, and the factors related to a change in intention to drive.
Four hundred nine young people aged 18-40 attending an Australian multi-day music festival completed a survey measuring demographics, alcohol use, amount of sleep obtained the previous night, intention to drive, number of passengers, perceived safety to drive, estimated BAC (measured in g/210 L) and change in intention to drive following a BAC measurement via breathalysers. Statistical analyses involved univariate tests of association and multivariate logistic regression.
Only one in five participants felt they were completely safe to drive. Males self-rated as less safe to drive than females. Multivariate analyses showed that licence class, sleep hours, units of alcohol consumed in the past 24 h and estimated BAC had statistically significant associations with driving safety perception. Participants who slept for greater than seven hours the previous night were three times more likely to feel safe to drive than those who had less than five hours of sleep (OR 3.05 (95% CI 1.25, 7.45)). Forty-one percent of participants changed their intended time of driving after having their BAC measured with a breathalyser. There was a statistically significant association between changing the intention to drive to a later time with an increase in each extra passenger in a participant's vehicle (OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.02, 2.30)).
Whilst concerning behaviours relating to high-risk alcohol consumption were found, the study uncovered promising findings about young peoples' perceptions of their safety to drive, and their propensity to change their driving intention. The strong correlation between hours of sleep, estimated BAC, units of alcohol consumed and license class with perception of driving safety suggests an increased awareness among young people and promotion of these factors may potentially improve actual driver safety. The influence of number of passengers on intention to drive later is another important consideration for future road safety research or promotion.