Occurrence and patterns of driving behavior for alcoholics in treatment

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1988 Oct;22(1-2):15-25. doi: 10.1016/0376-8716(88)90032-4.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the driving behaviors of male alcoholics. Two hundred and fifty-eight male alcoholics receiving treatment for alcoholism completed a self-administered questionnaire about their driving behaviour and official driver records were accessed. On average, the surveyed individuals drank and drove about 8.6 days per month at the legal level of impairment in Canada (i.e., 80 mg%). Evidence showed that about 88.3% of the sample had driven while impaired. The probability of being arrested for impaired driving was estimated to be about one in 1168 impaired driving events. People were divided into three groups according to their number of Driving While Impaired (DWI) arrests in the previous 10 years, as determined by self-reports and official driving records: zero DWI arrests, one DWI arrest, and multiple DWI arrests. Those with multiple DWI arrests drove while impaired more frequently and with more risky styles of driving than people with zero arrests. Those with two or more arrests also reported that they enjoyed driving under a greater variety of situations as compared to those with zero arrests. Multiple offenders had significantly more total collisions than zero time offenders; however, there were no significant differences among the three DWI groups for collisions without alcohol involvement or other types of traffic violations. Results showed that the number of DWI arrests was generally not related to worse driving when sober.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Probability
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Temperance