Drinking and driving in Vietnam : perceptions and risk

Nguyen, Tam Minh (2010) Drinking and driving in Vietnam : perceptions and risk. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Road traffic injuries are a major global public health problem but continue to receive inadequate attention. Alcohol influences both risk and consequence of road traffic injury but the scale of the problem is not well understood in many countries. In Vietnam, economic development has brought a substantial increase in the number of registered motorcycles as well as alcohol consumption. Traffic injury is among the leading causes of death in Vietnam but there is little local information regarding alcohol related traffic injuries. The primary goal of this study is to explore the drinking and driving patterns of males and their perceptions towards drink-driving and to determine the relationship between alcohol consumption and road traffic injuries. Furthermore, this thesis aims to present the situation analysis for choosing priority actions to reduce drinking and driving in Vietnam. The study is a combination of two cross-sectional surveys and a pilot study. The pilot study, involving 224 traffic injured patients, was conducted to test the tools and the feasibility of approach methods. In the first survey, male patrons (n=464) were randomly selected at seven restaurants. Face-to-face interviews were conducted when patrons just arrived and breath tests were collected when they were about to leave the restaurant. In the second survey, male patients admitted to hospital following a traffic injury (n=480, of which 414 were motorcycle or bicycle riders) were interviewed and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured by breathalyzer. The results show broadly similar patterns of drinking and driving among male patrons and male traffic injured patients with a high frequency of drinking and drink-driving reported among the majority of the two groups. A high proportion of male patrons were leaving restaurants with a BAC over the legal limit. Factors that significantly associate with the number of drinks and BAC were age, hazardous drinking, frequency of drink-driving in the past year, self-estimated number of drinks consumed to drive legally, perceived family’s disapproval of drink-driving, and perceived legal risk and physical risk. The proportion of patrons and patients with BAC above the legal limit of 0.05 were 86.7% and 60.4% respectively, which was much higher than found in previous studies. In addition, both groups had a high prevalence of BAC over 0.15g/100ml (39.7% of patrons and 45.6% patients), a level that can seriously affect driving capacity. Results from the case-crossover analysis for patients indicate a dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of traffic injury. The risk of traffic injury increased when alcohol was consumed before driving and there was a more than 13 fold increase when six or more drinks were consumed. Regarding perceptions towards drinking and driving, findings corroborate the low awareness among males in Vietnam, with a majority of respondents holding a low knowledge of safe and legally permissible alcohol use, and a low perceived risk of drinking and driving. The results also indicate a huge gap in prevention skills in terms of planning ahead or using alternative transport to avoid drink-driving and a perception by patrons and patients of a low rate of disapproval of drink-driving from peers and family. Findings in this study have considerable implications for national policy, injury prevention, clinical practice, reporting systems, and for further research. The low rate of compliance with existing laws and a generally low perceived legal risk toward drink-driving in this study call for the strengthening of enforcement along with mass media campaigns and news coverage in order to decrease the widespread perception of impunity and thereby, to reduce the level of drink-driving. In addition, no significant difference was found in this study on risk of traffic injuries between car drivers and motorcycle drivers. The current inconsistency between legal BAC for drivers of motorcycles, compared to cars, thus needs addressing. Furthermore, as drinking was found to be very common, rather than solely targeting drink-driving, it is important to call for a more strategic and comprehensive approach to alcohol policy in Viet Nam. This study also has considerable implications for clinical practice in terms of screening and brief interventions. Our study suggests that the short form of the AUDIT (AUDIT-C) screening tool is appropriate for use in busy emergency departments. The high proportion of traffic injured patients with evidence of alcohol abuse or hazardous drinking suggests that brief interventions by alcohol and drug counselors in emergency departments are a sensible option to addressing this important problem. The significance of this study is in the combination of the systematic collection of breath test and use of case-crossover design to estimate the risk of traffic injuries after alcohol consumption. The results provide convincing evidence to policy makers, health authorities and the media to help raise community awareness and policy advocacy toward the drinkdriving problem in Vietnam. The findings suggest an urgent need for a multi-sectoral approach to curtail drink-driving in Vietnam, especially programs to raise community awareness and effective legal enforcement. Furthermore, serving as a situation analysis, the thesis should inform the formulation of interventions designed to curtail drinking and driving in Vietnam and other developing countries.

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ID Code: 46083
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Dunne, Michael & Young, Ross
Keywords: traffic injury, alcohol, drink-driving, case-crossover, Vietnam, motorcycle, BAC, risk, perceptions, road safety
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 20 Sep 2011 23:30
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2011 00:27

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