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“Prevalence of alcohol-impaired drivers based on random breath tests in a roadside survey”

  • Manuela Alcañiz

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)

  • Montserrat Guillén

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)

  • Daniel Sánchez-Moscona

    (Catalan Traffic Authority)

  • Miguel Santolino

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)

  • Oscar Llatje

    (Catalan Traffic Authority)

  • Lluís Ramon

    (Catalan Traffic Authority)

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%, which is roughly a third of the rate obtained in non-random tests. Higher rates were found on weekends (1.90% on Saturdays, 4.29% on Sundays) and especially at night. The rate is higher for men (1.45%) than for women (0.64%) 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%, but when the driver was alone the rate drops to 0.84%, 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.

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File URL: http://www.ub.edu/irea/working_papers/2013/201313.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics in its series IREA Working Papers with number 201313.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision: Jul 2013
Handle: RePEc:ira:wpaper:201313
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