Author(s): Rydon P, Stockwell T, Syed DA, Jenkins EM
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Abstract We aimed to determine the alcohol consumption, blood alcohol levels (BALs) and subsequent driving of patrons leaving 15 hotels and taverns in Perth, Western Australia. Of the 414 patrons approached by interviewers on Friday and Saturday evenings, 307 (74 per cent) consented to take part. Self-reported alcohol consumption, driving intentions, perceived levels of fitness to drive and demographic information were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Observations of subsequent driving were recorded and BALs were measured by breath-alcohol meter. The patrons surveyed were predominantly male (76 per cent) and aged between 18 and 35 (87 per cent). Average reported alcohol consumption was 7.6 standard drinks for males and 4.9 drinks for females, around double the daily amount recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Further, 23 per cent of the sample had consumed more than 10 drinks (male) and 6 drinks (female). With respect to BALs, 37 per cent of patrons exceeded the drink-drive limit then in force of 0.087 and 56 per cent exceeded 0.05. Of greater concern, 23 per cent who were over the 0.08 legal limit were subsequently observed to drive even though they had been informed of their BAL and legal status with respect to driving. The results suggest that most young patrons drinking in Perth metropolitan hotels and taverns consume alcohol on such occasions in excess of limits currently recommended by health authorities and attain blood alcohol levels dangerous for driving. This is likely to remain unchanged without public debate as to the responsibility of licensees in serving a potentially harmful psychotropic drug and effective enforcement of liquor licensing laws.
This article was published in Aust J Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics