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TitleUnderstanding the context of alcohol consumption before driving for crash-involved drivers
AuthorsWundersitz LN, Raftery SJ
AbstractDespite a discernable shift in public acceptability of alcohol impaired driving, it continues to be a major contributor to death and serious injuries on South Australian roads. High levels of alcohol intoxication are recorded for drivers and riders involved in crashes but little is known about the circumstances surrounding the decision to drive after consuming alcohol. Investigating the context of alcohol consumption is also timely as drinking patterns can change over time. Closed Coronerís files for fatal crashes in South Australia from 2008 to 2010 were investigated with the aim of understanding the social context and circumstances surrounding alcohol consumption prior to crash involvement for drivers or riders with an illegal BAC. Official traffic offence records of drivers were also reviewed. Of the 284 fatal crashes included in the study, 34% (n=95) involved a driver or rider with an illegal BAC. The study found that alcohol consumption patterns have changed over time including a shift from drinking in hotel based premises to private homes, particularly in rural and remote areas. Of concern is the very high alcohol levels recorded by drivers, with a mean BAC that was over three times the legal limit and a level of alcohol dependence above the national average. The results confirm that drink driving recidivism continues to be a significant problem with 44% of drivers recording at least one prior alcohol offence. The findings from this study have important implications for the development of drink driving campaigns and interventions and will inform police alcohol enforcement strategies in South Australia.
Report NumberCASR129
PublisherCentre for Automotive Safety Research
Publisher CityAdelaide
SponsorDepartment of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
Page Count26

Wundersitz LN, Raftery SJ (2017). Understanding the context of alcohol consumption before driving for crash-involved drivers (CASR129). Adelaide: Centre for Automotive Safety Research.

Files Available for Download
CASR129.pdfPDF version of final report