Knowledge and behaviours of drunk driving offenders in Guangzhou, China

Jia, Keqin, King, Mark, Sheehan, Mary, Fleiter, Judy, Ma, Wenjun, & Zhang, Jianzhen (2013) Knowledge and behaviours of drunk driving offenders in Guangzhou, China. In 20th International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Background Alcohol is a major contributor to road crashes in China (Li, Xie, Nie, & Zhang, 2012; Cochrane, & Chen, 2003). Two levels of offence are defined in legislation: the lower level is driving under the influence (DUI, also translated as “drink driving”) and the higher level is driving while intoxicated (DWI, also translated as “drunk driving”, where the driver has BAC>0.08mg/100ml). This study focuses on a 2011 legislative amendment that made drunk driving (DWI) a criminal offence. However, it is not known whether drivers are aware of the law, and whether this knowledge, their exposure to enforcement and the existence of alcohol use disorders relate to their drink driving behaviour. This study explored these relationships in a sample of convicted drunk drivers.

Method A survey collected information about offenders’ knowledge and practices related to drunk driving in Guangzhou. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) (Babor, & Grant, 1989; Chen, & Cheng, 2005) assessed hazardous drinking levels. In total, 101 drunk driving offenders were recruited while in detention.

Results Males represented 90% of the sample; the average age was 33.6 years (SD=8.7; range 17-59 years). The average age at which offenders reported starting to drink alcohol was 19.5 years (SD=4.1; range 8-30 years). Driver’s licences had been held for a median of 7 years. Knowledge about legal limits for DUI and DWI offences was surprisingly low, at 27.7% and 40.6% respectively. On average, offenders had experienced 1.5 police alcohol breath tests in the previous year (SD=1.3; range 1-10). AUDIT scores indicated that a substantial proportion of the offenders had high levels of alcohol use disorders. Higher AUDIT scores were found among the least experienced drivers, those with lack of knowledge about the legal limits, and recidivist drunk drivers.

Discussion and conclusions Limited awareness of legal alcohol limits might contribute to offending; high levels of alcohol consumption by many offenders suggest that hazardous drinking levels may also contribute. Novice drivers are a concern and their higher AUDIT scores merit some followup. Overall, this study provides important information to assist in refining community education and prevention efforts to align with China’s new regulations.

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ID Code: 65154
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: drink-driving, China, drink drivers, offenders
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 14 Jan 2014 04:54
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2014 04:47

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