ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Drink walking: an examination of the related behaviour and attitudes of young people

Lang, Cathryne (Peer reviewed)

Pedestrian Safety


While huge inroads have been made into the drink driving problem in Queensland, the prevalence of alcohol-related pedestrian crashes has been steadily increasing.  Young people (17-29 years) are over-represented in these pedestrian crashes.  An exploratory study of 78 young people was conducted to examine the issue of drink walking (walking at Blood Alcohol Concentration levels greater than .05mg/ml) as part of a larger program of research examining youth and risk-taking behaviour.  The study involved breath testing and surveying patrons as they left a licensed premise.  Items addressed past experiences of drink walking behaviour, knowledge and perceptions of the dangers and legal consequences associated with drink walking and drink driving, trip planning, and factors influencing choice of transport mode.  Results revealed that while most people indicated that drinking arrangements were a large factor in planning how to get home, most intended to travel by car with friends.  However, 55% of the sample recalled situations when alcohol had impaired their ability to walk to their destination.  Approximately half of the sample had heard of the term drink walking but associated it with travelling home (rather than between licensed venues) and with higher levels of intoxication compared to drink driving.  The implications of the findings for the design of educational campaigns and other interventions are discussed.