The association between social determinants and drunken driving: a 15-year register-based study of 81,125 suspects

Alcohol Alcohol. 2011 Nov-Dec;46(6):721-8. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agr075. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Aims: The aim of the study was to examine the association between social background and drunken driving.

Methods: A Finnish register on suspected drunken driving was combined with data on social background. There were 81,125 drivers arrested for drunken driving and 86,279 references from 1993 to 2007.

Results: A low level of education, unemployment, living alone and divorce were strongly associated with drunken driving. In addition, for persons aged 15-24 years, low parental education and income, high own income and possession of a car correlated with higher odds of drunken driving. For working-aged men and women, low income was associated with a higher risk of drunken driving. For working-aged women, also possession of a car was a risk factor.

Conclusions: Social factors are associated with drunken driving. In general, people with a lower social position are more prone to drive after drinking. Social differences are visible already in youth, whereas working and own income of young persons signal different risk mechanisms for youth than for working-aged people. Measures for preventing drunken driving are needed within public health policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Unemployment