SWOV Catalogus


Alcohol and drug use among drivers : British Columbia Roadside Survey 2008.
20110590 ST [electronic version only]
Beirness, D.J. & Beasley, E.E.
Ottawa, ON, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse CCSA, 2009, 22 p., 14 ref. - ISBN 1-897321-83-X (online)

Samenvatting Following two decades of progress dealing with alcohol-impaired driving, greater attention is now being directed toward the issue of driving while impaired by drugs. Currently, there is far less information related to drug-impaired driving than alcohol-impaired driving. This report describes a study on the extent of drug use by drivers. A random survey of drivers was conducted at pre-selected locations in British Columbia from Wednesday to Saturday nights in June 2008. The purpose was to collect information on the prevalence of alcohol and drug use among night-time drivers. Those surveyed were asked to provide a voluntary breath sample to measure their alcohol use and an oral fluid sample to be tested subsequently for the presence of drugs. Of the 1,533 vehicles selected, 89% of drivers provided a breath sample and 78% provided a sample of oral fluid. Key findings include: • 10.4% of drivers tested positive for drug use • 8.1% of drivers had been drinking • 15.5% of drivers tested positive for alcohol, drugs or both • Cannabis and cocaine were the drugs most frequently detected in drivers • Alcohol use among drivers was most common on weekends and during late-night hours; drug use was more evenly distributed across all survey nights and times • Alcohol use was most common among drivers aged 19 to 24 and 25 to 34; drug use was more evenly distributed across all age groups • No drivers aged 16 to 18 were found to have been drinking • While driving after drinking has decreased substantially since previous surveys, the number of drivers with elevated alcohol levels (over 80 mg%) was higher than in the past. The finding that drug use is now more common than alcohol use among drivers highlights the need for a societal response to the use of drugs by drivers comparable to that directed at drinking and driving over the past three decades. New legislation came into effect in July 2008 providing police in Canada with the tools to enforce drug-impaired driving laws. The legislation calls for drivers to submit to a field test of impairment (Standardized Field Sobriety Test or SFST). If there is evidence of impairment, the driver must accompany the officer to the station for further evaluation of drug influence by an officer trained in the Drug Evaluation and Classification program, including providing a sample of bodily fluid for analysis of drug content. While enforcement is a key element in efforts to deal with drugs and driving, a comprehensive approach also includes public education, awareness and research. (Author/publisher)
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