Rural/Urban Differences in Drunk Driving and Riding with a Drunk Driver among Students

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Purpose: The study examined rural/urban differences in driving under the influence and/or riding in a car driven by someone under the influence among high school students throughout Georgia.

Methods: As part of the 2013 Georgia Student Health Survey II, administered annually throughout the public school system in Georgia, students were asked whether they had driven a car while under the influence and whether they had ridden in a car driven by someone else who was under the influence (past 30 days). Responses from 114,907 11th-12th grade students for driving under the influence and 268,610 9th-12th grade students on riding in a car driven by someone under the influence were analyzed using mixed binary linear regressions adjusted for individual, school, and county-level effects.

Results: While only 4% of 11th and 12th grade students reported driving under the influence, over 10% of students reported having ridden in a car with a driver who was under the influence. In adjusted analyses, while rural students were not more likely to have driven under the influence, they were 18% more likely to have ridden in a car driven by someone under the influence (ORADJ = 1.18; 95% CI: 1.07-1.31).

Conclusions: Driving under the influence and riding with an impaired driver seem to be distinct risk behaviors. Although there were no differences between rural/urban students in prevalence of driving under the influence, rural students were more likely to ride in a car with an impaired driver. Implications for health education and program development will be discussed.


American Public Health Association Annual Conference (APHA)


Denver, CO