Associations between alcohol consumption patterns and attitudes towards alcohol interlocks

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Background Drink-driving and alcohol-related crashes are a significant problem globally. Alcohol interlocks are used to prevent drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above a pre-determined level from starting their vehicle, making the technology highly effective in preventing drink-drive episodes. While alcohol interlocks are commonly used in drink-drive offender groups, their broader use as a preventative road safety strategy is considered increasingly feasible. In this context it is important to understand attitudes towards the technology, and to investigate whether these attitudes vary according to alcohol consumption patterns as this influences the acceptability of a broad-based preventative alcohol interlock program. Methods A representative sample of 2994 Australian drivers participated in an online cross-sectional survey. Participants reported their alcohol consumption, drink-drive behaviour and attitudes towards the use of alcohol interlocks for personal use and for drink-drive offenders. Results Half of the sample stated that alcohol interlocks would be of use personally. Seventy-four percent of high-risk drinkers (defined by an AUDIT score ≥20) stated they would find the technology personally useful when compared to 49% of low-risk drinkers (AUDIT ≤7). Overwhelmingly, more than 80% of participants agreed with the mandatory instalment of alcohol interlocks and compulsory clinical interventions for drink-drive offenders, with more low-risk drinkers supporting this than the high-risk drinkers. Conclusions While there were mixed opinions regarding the perceived personal usefulness of alcohol interlocks, higher-risk drinkers were most likely to perceive interlocks as being of use for themselves. This high-risk group however, was less likely to provide support for clinical interventions and additional re-licensing requirements aimed at eliciting changes in drinking behaviour. These findings have important implications for drink-drive offender relicensing and the likely success of drink-driver education, and interventions aimed at curbing risky alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol interlocks
  • Drink-driving

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