Drinking and Driving among Italian Adolescents: Trends over Seven Years (2007-2013)

Siciliano, V., Mezzasalma, L., Scalese, M., Doveri, C. and Molinaro, S.
Journal / Publication name: 
Accident; Analysis and Prevention

In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), especially among young people. The aims of the present study were (1) to analyse the trends of DUI, riding with a driver under influence of alcohol (RWDUI) and alcohol-related road crashes (A-rC) in a nationally representative sample of students in the period 2007-2013, (2) to assess how different drinking patterns were associated with DUI and RWDUI, (3) to evaluate other influential factors (such as gender, older siblings' and friends' behaviour with alcohol) on DUI and RWDUI. Data were drawn from the cross-sectional European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) carried out annually in Italy. The sample size ranged from 25,555 to 40,390 students (15-19 years old). Results were stratified for students <18 years and ≥18 years old. Although a significant decreasing trend for alcohol consumption was observed only in the younger group, a significant decrease in DUI [APC (annual percent change) -9.7 in the younger and -6.4 in the older group] and in RWDUI (APC -6.7 in the younger and -4.8 in the older group) was detected. A significant decreasing trend of A-rC was observed only in the older group (APC -3.4). Three specific drinking patterns were identified: "Drinking to Excess" (DE), "Drinking with Intoxication" (DI) and "Drinking but Not to Excess" (DNE). In both age groups, the DE pattern significantly increased the likelihood of DUI, whereas the DI pattern was negatively associated, and the DNE pattern was not associated. Different results were found for RWDUI: the DE and DI patterns where significantly associated with RWDUI, whereas the DNE pattern was negatively associated. Overall, illegal substance use, parental monitoring, peers' and siblings' influence were associated with DUI and RWDUI. The change in behaviour towards DUI and RWDUI suggests a cumulative effectiveness of current alcohol policies, although further actions (greater attention to social context, law enforcement, and promotion of good practice) are needed to substantially reduce alcohol-related crashes.

Publishing year: 
Type of Document: 
Peer reviewed article/paper