Page last updated: September 18, 2018

A longitudinal examination of decisions to ride and decline rides with drinking drivers

Authors of a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research state that riding with a drinking driver (RWDD) leads to numerous preventable deaths every year, but there is a significant gap in research on empirically tested predictors of RWDD that could used to target prevention efforts. College students have some of the highest rates of alcoholrelated crash fatalities and may engage in RWDD more than their non-college peers, the authors state.

The study utilised a behavioural decision-making approach to examine predictors of RWDD and declining a ride from a drinking driver (Decline) in older college students.

791 their third year college students were enrolled from 3 large and diverse universities. Psychosocial (e.g., expectancies, norms) and decision-making variables (willingness to RWDD and intentions to use alternatives) were assessed in the fall of their third year. One year later, RWDD and Decline behaviours were assessed. The research examined how decisionmaking variables predicted RWDD and Decline behaviour. Associations between psychosocial and decision-making variables were also assessed. 13% of students reported RWDD and ~28% reported Decline behaviour. Willingness to RWDD and typical weekly drinking were both associated with increases in RWDD (odds ratio [OR] = 1.58 and 1.40, respectively), whereas intentions to use alternatives, sex, and ethnicity were not associated with RWDD. Only weekly drinking was associated with Decline, with an increase in drinking associated with increased Decline (OR = 1.48). All psychosocial variables were significantly associated with the decision-making variables except positive expectancies.

Results provide evidence that willingness to RWDD is a predictor of future RWDD, even if students intend to use safe alternatives. Future research is needed to better understand decision-making factors that influence Decline. Results also suggest prevention and interventions efforts, such as brief motivational intervention, Parent-Based Interventions, and normative feedback interventions could be adapted to reduce RWDD.

Source: A longitudinal examination of decisions to ride and decline rides with drinking drivers. BA Hultgren, R Turrisi, K. Mallett, S Ackerman, ME Larimer, D McCarthy, E Romano. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. First published: 26 June 2018.
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