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Prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers based on random breath tests in a roadside survey
Alcañiz, Manuela; Guillén, Montserrat; Sánchez Moscona, Daniel; Santolino, Miguel; Llatje, Oscar; Lluis, Ramon
Sobriety checkpoints are not usually randomly located by traffic authorities. As such, information provided by non-random alcohol tests cannot be used to infer the characteristics of the general driving population. In this paper a case study is presented in which the prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving is estimated for the general population of drivers. A stratified probabilistic sample was designed to represent vehicles circulating in non-urban areas of Catalonia (Spain), a region characterized by its complex transportation network and dense traffic around the metropolis of Barcelona. Random breath alcohol concentration tests were performed during spring 2012 on 7,596 drivers. The estimated prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers was 1.29 PER CENT, which is roughly a third of the rate obtained in non-random tests. Higher rates were found on weekends (1.90 PER CENT on Saturdays, 4.29 PER CENT on Sundays) and especially at night. The rate is higher for men (1.45 PER CENT) than for women (0.64 PER CENT) and the percentage of positive outcomes shows an increasing pattern with age. In vehicles with two occupants, the proportion of alcohol-impaired drivers is estimated at 2.62 PER CENT, but when the driver was alone the rate drops to 0.84 PER CENT, which might reflect the socialization of drinking habits. The results are compared with outcomes in previous surveys, showing a decreasing trend in the prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers over time.
Consum d'alcohol i accidents de circulació
Enginyeria del trànsit
Traffic flow
Drinking and traffic accidents
Traffic engineering
cc-by-nc-nd, (c) Alcañiz et al., 2013
Documento de trabajo
Universitat de Barcelona. Institut de Recerca en Economia Aplicada Regional i Pública

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