Intoxicated motor vehicle passengers warrant screening and treatment similar to intoxicated drivers

C. R. Schermer, T. R. Apodaca, R. M. Albrecht, S. W. Lu, G. B. Demarest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Alcohol interventions decrease alcohol consumption and recurrent injury. The study hypotheses are (1) intoxicated passengers are similar to intoxicated drivers in crashes and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), and (2) DUI conviction rates after injury are low. Methods: Intoxicated motor vehicle occupants hospitalized for injury in 1996-1998 were matched to the state traffic database for crashes and DUI. Drivers and passengers were compared for crashes and DUI in the 2 years preceding and 1 year after admission. Driver DUI citation at the time of admission was also recorded. A logistic regression model for crash and DUI probability was constructed. Results: Six hundred seventy-four patients met inclusion criteria. In the 2 years preceding admission, passengers and drivers were equally cited for crashes (14.7% vs 19.3%,p = 0.12). In 1 year after admission, they were also equally cited (7.1% vs 7.7%,p = 0.92). Driver/passenger status was not a predictor by logistic regression; 13.4% of intoxicated drivers were convicted of DUI for the admitting crash. Conclusion: Intoxicated passengers and drivers are equally likely to be cited for crashes and DUI before and after admission for injury. Few admitted intoxicated drivers are convicted of DUI. Screening and intervention for all intoxicated crash occupants is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1086
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol intervention
  • Alcohol screening
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Motor vehicle crash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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