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Journal Article


Rio MC, Gonzalez-Luque JC, Álvarez FJ. Alcohol Alcohol. 2001; 36(3): 256-261.


Drugs and Alcohol Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Valladolid, 47005 Valladolid and National Traffic Agency, Josefa Valcarcel 28, 28027 Madrid, Spain.


(Copyright © 2001, Oxford University Press)






This paper analyses the alcohol consumption patterns in Spanish drivers, the incidence of alcohol-related problems and attempts to ascertain whether, in the end, drivers with alcohol-related problems are considered fit or unfit to drive. In accordance with Spanish and European Union legislation, driving licences cannot be issued or renewed to people suffering from alcohol-related problems. A medical, psychological and eyesight evaluation was performed to test the driving fitness of 8043 drivers attending 25 Medical Driving Test Centres on a national scale. Among other things, information was collected on the patterns of alcohol consumption, the AUDIT and CAGE tests, the incidence of alcohol-related problems (DSM-IV criteria for abuse, dependence and alcohol-induced disorder), as well as an evaluation of their fitness to drive. In all, 60.3% of drivers drink alcohol on a regular basis; 7.3% of drivers scored > or = 8 points in the AUDIT test, and 2% met criteria for DSM-IV alcohol abuse, dependence or induced disorder. Drivers with alcohol-related problems have been involved in traffic accidents (23.2%) and have infringed driving regulations (18.7%) more frequently (P < 0.0001) than those without alcohol-related problems. Of those with alcohol-related problems, 72.2% were considered fit to drive. The study reveals that alcohol consumption is common among drivers, that a significant number of drivers have alcohol-related problems, and that three in four of the latter were considered fit to drive.


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