n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Drinking and driving behaviour, knowledge, attitudes and perceived risks among university students

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This paper examines the prevalence of drinking and driving (DD), DD knowledge, attitudes, behavioural intentions and perceived risks. Data was collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire from a purposive sample of 110 undergraduate university students aged 17 to 24 years. The study revealed that more than three-quarters of the sample (89.2%) had no driver's license, but they drove anyway; the majority did not own cars (98%) and they generally drove less than 5 hours/week (80.9%). The majority of the respondents (89.1%) had not driven after drinking. However, of those who had admitted to DD, males (7.9%) constituted a higher percentage than females (3%). Approximately three-quarters (74.3%) of the respondents had experienced being passengers in cars driven by drivers under the influence of alcohol, with males (44.6%) again eclipsing the female number (29.7%). DD knowledge was generally low as more than 50 percent were unsure about the definition of DD, the definition of BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration), and the safe limit of alcohol consumption. More than 50 percent of the respondents had negative attitudes towards DD as they stated that it is neither okay to DD, or RDD (riding with someone who has been DD) nor safe. Generally respondents had no inclination to DD, as they intended to prevent friends from DD, to seek alternatives to DD, to take a taxi when their driving ability has been impaired by alcohol, and to remain abstinent if they know that they would be driving. The perceived risks for DD were low, as more than 50 percent of the respondents reported that chances were low that an impaired driver will be stopped by police, will be involved in an accident, will have his/her license taken away, will be imprisoned or will pay a heavy fine. The results of this study have implications for professionals in the alcohol and traffic safety field in terms of policy and programme formulation, curriculum development and service delivery.

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