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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Self-reported drinking and driving amongst educated adults in Spain: The "Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra" (SUN) cohort findings

Maria Segui-Gomez1*, Silvia Palma2, Francisco Guillen-Grima3, Jokin de Irala1 and Miguel A Martinez-Gonzalez1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

2 Department of Health Sciences, Universidad de Jaén, Jaén, Spain

3 Preventive Medicine Unit, Clínica Universitaria, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-55

Published: 12 April 2007

Abstract

Background

The role of alcohol as a risk factor for motor vehicle crashes is long known. Yet, reports on the prevalence of drinking and driving suggest values between 20%–30% when the adult driving population is interviewed. We wondered whether these values hold true among European educated citizens and whether there are any significant differences in prevalence by age, gender, type of profession and other lifestyle indicators.

Methods

Cross-sectional analyses of baseline data from a cohort of university graduates in Spain (SUN study). Answered questionnaires contained items on current drinking and driving practices, together with data on socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle habits. Chi square, Fisher test, and multivariate logistic regression were used to investigate the impact of several variables on drinking and driving practices. Analyses were stratified by gender.

Results

Almost 30% of the participants reported "sometimes" drinking and driving. This percent increased to 47% when "almost never" was also included as a positive answer to the drinking and driving practice question. These percentages varied significantly by gender, with up to 64% of men reporting "sometimes" or "almost never" vs. 36% of women doing so. Drinking and driving practices also differed by overall alcohol consumption habits, smoking, use of safety belts, and notably, type of profession.

Conclusion

Our findings are amongst the first on the high prevalence of drinking and driving among Spanish. Particularly worrisome is the fact that health professionals reported this habit even at higher rates. Multidisciplinary interventions (e.g., legal, educational, economic) are needed to reduce this serious health risk.