Drink driving in Hong Kong: the competing effects of random breath testing and alcohol tax reductions

Authors

  • Jean H. Kim,

    1. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, , The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR
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  • Alvin H. Wong,

    1. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, , The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR
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  • William B. Goggins,

    1. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, , The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR
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  • Joseph Lau,

    1. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, , The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR
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  • Sian M. Griffiths

    Corresponding author
    1. The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, , The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR
    • Correspondence to: The School of Public Health and Primary Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR. E-mail: siangriffiths@cuhk.edu.hk

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Abstract

Aims

To investigate the competing effects of increased anti-drink driving legislation and the recent elimination of excise taxes on wine and beer.

Design

Serial cross-sectional telephone surveys were conducted in 2006 (n = 9860) and 2011 (n = 4800).

Setting

Hong Kong, China.

Participants

Chinese adults (≥18 years of age).

Measurements

Respondents were asked about their drinking patterns, past-year experience of driving within 2 hours of drinking, drinking-related attitudes and reported deterrents to drink driving.

Findings

Following the legislative changes, the age-standardized past-year prevalence of drink driving decreased significantly from 5.2 to 2.8% (P < 0.001) among all males, from 9.0 to 4.4% (P < 0.001) among male past-year drinkers and from 13.7 to 8.5% (P < 0.01) among male weekly drinkers. The past-year prevalence of drink driving in 2011 among all females (0.08%), female past-year drinkers (1.6%), male binge drinkers (12.5%), female weekly drinkers (4.7%) and female binge drinkers (7.9%) were not significantly different from 2006. Drink driving was associated independently with business sector employment [odds ratio (OR) = 2.47], past-month binge drinking (OR = 6.08) and beliefs in the benefits to one's wellbeing of drinking (OR = 2.62) among males and past-month binge drinking (OR = 5.57), belief in the social benefits of drinking (OR = 5.66) and being unmarried (OR = 3.00) in females (P < 0.05). The most commonly reported drink driving deterrents were concerns about random breath tests (93.8%) and the potential legal consequences of conviction (93.6–96.5%).

Conclusions

Despite greater alcohol consumption in Hong Kong, the current anti-drink driving strategy appears to reduce drink driving in males and prevent increased levels among females. Binge drinkers, however, remain a high-risk group that should be monitored continually.

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