In Italy, increased attention has been paid to the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), especially among young people in recent years. The aims of a study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention were (1) to analyse the trends of DUI, riding with a driver under influence of alcohol and alcohol-related road crashes (A-rC) in a nationally representative sample of students in the period 2007-2013, (2) to assess how different drinking patterns were associated with DUI and RWDUI, and (3) to evaluate other influential factors (such as gender, older siblings’ and friends’ behaviour with alcohol) on DUI and riding with a driver under influence of alcohol. Data were drawn from the cross-sectional European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) carried out annually in Italy. The sample size ranged from 25,555 to 40,390 students (15-19 years old). Results were stratified for students <18 years and ≥18 years old. Although a significant decreasing trend for alcohol consumption was observed only in the younger group, a significant decrease in driving under the influence of alcohol [APC (annual percent change) -9.7 in the younger and -6.4 in the older group] and in riding with a driver under influence of alcohol (APC -6.7 in the younger and -4.8 in the older group) was detected.
A significant decreasing trend of alcohol-related road crashes was observed only in the older group (APC -3.4). Three specific drinking patterns were identified: “Drinking to Excess” (DE), “Drinking with Intoxication” (DI) and “Drinking but Not to Excess” (DNE). In both age groups, the DE pattern significantly increased the likelihood of driving under the influence of alcohol, whereas the DI pattern was negatively associated, and the DNE pattern was not associated. Different results were found for riding with a driver under influence of alcohol: the DE and DI patterns where significantly associated with riding with a driver under influence of alcohol, whereas the DNE pattern was negatively associated. Overall, illegal substance use, parental monitoring, peers’ and siblings’ influence were associated with driving under the influence of alcohol and riding with a driver under influence of alcohol. The change in behaviour towards driving under the influence of alcohol and riding with a driver under influence of alcohol suggests a cumulative effectiveness of current alcohol policies, although further actions (greater attention to social context, law enforcement, and promotion of good practice) are needed to substantially reduce alcohol-related crashes, the authors suggest. Source: Drinking and driving among Italian adolescents: Trends over seven years (2007-2013). Siciliano V, Mezzasalma L, Scalese M, Doveri C, Molinaro S. Accid Anal Prev. 2015 Dec 30;88:97-104.