Prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving and riding in northern Ghana.

13. Damsere-Derry, J., Palk, G., & King, M. (2016). Prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving and riding in northern Ghana. Traffic injury prevention, 17(3), 226-232.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the roadside prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving among drivers and riders in northern Ghana. The study also verifies motorists' perceptions of their own alcohol use and knowledge of the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Ghana.

Method: With the assistance of police, systematic random sampling was used to collect data at roadblocks using a cross-sectional study design. Breathalyzers were used to screen whether motorists had detectable alcohol in their breath and follow-up breath tests were conducted to measure the actual breath alcohol levels among positive participants.

Results: In all, 9.7% of the 789 participants had detectable alcohol, among whom 6% exceeded the legal BAC limit of 0.08%. The prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving/riding was highest among cyclists (10% of all cyclists breath-tested) followed by truck drivers (9%) and motorcyclists (7% of all motorcyclists breath-tested). The occurrence of a positive BAC among cyclists was about 8 times higher (odds ratio [OR] = 7.73; P < .001) and it was 2 times higher among motorcyclists (OR = 2.30; P = .039) compared to private car drivers. The likelihood for detecting a positive BAC among male motorists/riders was higher than that among females (OR = 1.67; P = .354). The odds for detecting a positive BAC among weekend motorists/riders was significantly higher than on weekdays (OR = 2.62; P = .001).

Conclusion: Alcohol-impaired driving/riding in Ghana is high by international standards. In order to attenuate the harmful effects of alcohol misuse such as alcohol-impaired driving/riding, there is the need to educate road users about how much alcohol they can consume and stay below the legal limit. The police should also initiate random breath testing to instill the deterrence of detection, certainty of apprehension and punishment, and severity and celerity of punishment among drink-driving motorists and riders.

KEYWORDS: alcohol, BAC, bicyclists, blood alcohol concentration, cars, motorcyclists, countermeasures


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