What contributes to drug driving? An exploratory investigation into the influence of problematic substance use, roadside testing and alternative transport options

Razi Hasan, Barry Watson, Narelle Haworth, Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Despite a strong reliance on enforcement approaches to prevent drug driving in Australia, this behaviour is still prevalent. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of problematic drug use (i.e., showing indications of addiction), exposure to roadside drug testing, the use of detection avoidance strategies, and perceptions relating to alternative transport options on drug driving among illicit drug users. A total of 1,541 licensed drivers from the states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria completed an online survey. The survey collected demographic and problematic substance use information, as well as items assessing drug driving behaviour. Cannabis was reported to be the most commonly used drug (36.0%); the most common drug of problematic use (27.9%), and the drug most often taken prior to driving (43.5%). Observing police operating Roadside Drug Tests (RDT) was more common among the participants than being tested by RDT (35.7% vs 23%). The results indicated a significant association between being a drug driver and observing or being tested by RDT. The drug drivers were significantly more likely to report using a range of strategies to avoid police detection than the non-drug drivers. Similarly, the drug drivers reported that it was more difficult for them to use various alternative transport options than the non-drug drivers. Decision tree analyses found that significant predictors of self-reported drug driving were problematic drug use, holding a provisional or probationary licence, earning a low- or middle-income, and using detection avoidance strategies like remaining watchful for police vehicles and taking back streets. The findings of this study suggest that ongoing improvements to drug driving enforcement will need to be complemented by health-based approaches designed to reduce drug abuse and dependence, and improvements to public transport, in order to achieve a sustainable reduction in drug driving.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106990
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Volume184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Alternative transport
  • Avoidance strategies
  • Drug driving
  • Problematic substance use
  • Random breath testing
  • Roadside drug testing

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