Toward national estimates of alcohol use disorders among drivers: results from the National Roadside Survey Pilot Program.

C. Debra Furr-Holden, Robert B. Voas, John Lacey, Tara Kelley-Baker, Eduardo Romano, Mieka Smart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether drivers contacted at the roadside can be screened for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Secondarily, to produce preliminary estimates of AUDs among drivers and estimate the relationship between AUD status and BAC measured at the roadside. METHODS: A two-phase survey program was undertaken. In phase 1, 206 motorists were interviewed at the roadside using a 15-item AUD Survey derived from a condensed version of the AUDADIS and the AUDIT-C. One hundred sixty-seven of these motorists were invited, for a $25 incentive, to call the research team within 48 h of the roadside assessment to repeat the questionnaire and complete a more detailed AUD assessment. Phase 2 involved a 6-state pilot test of the AUD Survey as an add-on to the 2005 National Roadside Survey Pilot Program. The setting for both phases of the survey program was US roadways on weekends between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. RESULTS: Ninety-seven percent of all eligible drivers completed the AUD questionnaire. The correlation between roadside and telephone interview results was 0.3 for alcohol abuse, 0.6 for alcohol dependence and heavy drinking, and 0.7 for binge drinking. Alcohol abuse and dependence diagnoses had 0.6 and 0.7 correlations with diagnoses derived from the full AUDADIS and the AUDIT-C had a 0.8 correlation with the full AUDIT. There was also a statistically significant and positive relationship between having a positive BAC at the roadside and meeting criteria for heavy drinking. CONCLUSIONS: AUD status can be effectively measured at the roadside. The poor reliability for alcohol abuse is related to underreporting of drinking and driving during roadside assessments, compared to telephone follow-up. Other measures of hazardous alcohol use should be used in the roadside context to measure alcohol abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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