This survey was designed primarily to determine the social characteristics and drinking patterns of persons brought to a casualty department during the period 2 December 1974 until 31 August 1975 after a car crash in Melbourne, Australia and relates these to their blood alcohol level. The personal and biographical data of 1,050 persons was obtained from hospital records. Of these subjects, 228 were selected for interview. The interviewed subjects were biased in that there were more males, more persons with positive blood alcohol concentration (BAC). One quarter of the 1,050 subjects had a positive BAC, with 227 (21.6%) exceeding the legal limit of 0.05 gm%. One tenth (115) exceeded 0.150 gm%, a level which is considered to be presumptive evidence of a drinking problem. Skilled workers were overrepresented to a small degree. The BAC positive group had more single vehicle crashes, and crashes at weekends and between 2100 and 0300. Those with higher BAC tended to have more severe injuries especially for head injuries. A high BAC therefore appears to be predominantly a male characteristics, especially in those born in Australia or Britain, and aged under 30 years. The interviews revealed that about half of the subjects with a positive BAC underestimated their intake, and that the extent of the underestimation was thought to be at least 50% in most cases. There was a general pattern for those with a BAC above the legal limit to have started drinking earlier, to drink more frequently and greater quantities on each occasion than those below the legal limit. This study has shown that a single elevated BAC estimation on attending hospital after a crash appears to be a fairly reliable indicator of subjects with potential drinking problems. This group is not otherwise different from their peers with low BAC.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report was sponsored by the Commonwealth Department of Transport, Australia.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Monash University

    Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Wellington Road
    Clayton, Victoria  Australia  3800
  • Authors:
    • RYAN, G A
    • Salter, W E
  • Publication Date: 1977-6

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 62 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00164944
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 7 1978 12:00AM