ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

An analysis of single-vehicle fatality crashes in Australia at various Blood Alcohol Concentrations

Devlin, A, Fitzharris, Michael (Peer reviewed)

Drink Driving


In Australia, approximately 30% of road deaths are associated with drivers having an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), with evidence that over the past decade this proportion has increased. It is important to identify and understand the characteristics of drivers most at risk for driving with high BAC levels, and consequently are at increased risk of crash involvement. The aims of the following analysis were to examine the characteristics of single vehicle fatality crashes in Australia from 2000-2006. Of particular interest was the presence and level of alcohol among drivers, . Specfically, we aimed to determine the differences in demographic and crash characteristics of drivers (i.e., age, gender, combined drug use) based on BAC level. The Australian Fatal Road Crash Database (FRCD) comprised 3557 single-vehicle crashes which resulted in the death of 2256 drivers and 1234 passengers in the period 2000 to 2006 inclusive. Approximately 54% of single-vehicle driver fatalities where the BAC was known recorded a BAC > 0.0 g/100ml, with 34% of fatally injured drivers exceeding a BAC of 0.15 g/100 ml. The findings highlight clear patterns and characteristics of alcohol-related crashes, and give important insights into the demographic profile of intoxicated drivers. Of note was the use of illicit drugs such as cannabis, but also prescription drugs, such as anti-depressants. This research has important implications for how we tackle the drink-driving problem in Australia, particularly in relation to high-BAC drivers.