Failure to reduce drinking and driving in France: a 6-year prospective study in the GAZEL cohort
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 105, Issue 1, pages 57–61, January 2010
How to Cite
Constant, A., Lafont, S., Chiron, M., Zins, M., Lagarde, E. and Messiah, A. (2010), Failure to reduce drinking and driving in France: a 6-year prospective study in the GAZEL cohort. Addiction, 105: 57–61. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02725.x
- Issue published online: 14 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2009
- Submitted 17 March 2009; initial review completed 21 May2009; final version accepted 30 June 2009
- drinking and driving;
- GAZEL cohort;
- longitudinal study;
- risk behaviours;
- road traffic safety
Aim An unprecedented decline in alcohol consumption and road mortality has been observed recently in France, but it is still unclear whether or not these changes affected driving while alcohol-intoxicated (DWI). The objective of the study was to estimate prospectively trends of excessive speed on the roads, alcohol consumption and DWI between 2001 and 2007 in a large cohort of experienced drivers.
Methods Participants were current employees or recent retirees of the French national electricity and gas company, who volunteered to participate in a research cohort established in 1989 under strict conditions of anonymity. An annual cohort questionnaire is sent to participants that includes two questions about overall alcohol consumption. In 2001 and 2007, 10 684 participants reported their driving behaviours using the same self-administered questionnaire.
Results Between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of participants (n = 10 684) who reported having driven at speeds at least 20 km/hour above the limit decreased from 23.7% to 4.1% in built-up areas (P < 0.001), from 34.3% to 9.3% on rural roads (P < 0.001) and from 24.3% to 2.7% on highways (P < 0.001). Regular and non-regular excessive alcohol consumption decreased from 22.7% to 19.7% and from 18.0% to 14.9%, respectively, whereas DWI increased from 22.9% to 25.3% over the same period (P < 0.001).
Conclusions A recent crackdown on road violations by the French government has failed to deter DWI. Given that DWI seems to be a sporadic and rarely punished behaviour, its prevention requires more coercive measures, such as using a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.