Drink and Drug Driving among University Students: What?s the Skipper up to?
Research Objectives: Since the introduction of random breath testing (RBT) in Australia there has been a significant reduction in drink driving, as measured by alcohol-related crashes. In contrast, the prevalence of drug-related road fatalities is on the increase. One strategy that targets drink and or drug driving is the promotion of a designated driver or ?skipper?. This paper determines to what extent the ?skipper? is driving alcohol or drug free.
Methods: A convenience sample of university students from The University of Western Australia completed a confidential questionnaire that included questions on drug and alcohol use while driving as the designated ?skipper?.
Results: The mean age of the 286 participants was 21 years. Among the students who reported regularly drinking alcohol, 26% of drivers drove, as the designated ?skipper,? while feeling the effects of alcohol. Similarly, 17% of students who reported using drugs drove, as the ?skipper?, while feeling the effects of the drug. Multivariate analysis identified that the presence of random drug testing would act as a deterrent for drug driving whilst the designated ?skipper?.
Discussion: Although three quarters of designated ?skippers? do not drink and or drug drive, a sizeable proportion of young drivers continue to place themselves and more importantly, their passengers, at an elevated risk of injury. Campaigns that target the responsibility of the ?skipper? and that are included as part of drinkdriving campaigns would be beneficial.