Traffic Inj Prev. 2020 Nov 18:1-6. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2020.1839060. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Nightclub patrons who consume alcohol and drugs in these venues would appear to be an important population to target with on-demand ride hailing app (RHA) services to reduce drunk/drugged driving (DUI), but even though these services are trying to reduce dui infractions, only a small percentage of the population actually use them when drunk while the others drive with only a “buzz”. This can also be seen by the results of people who need bail bonds to pay specifically for dui charges, which has not gone down very much over these past years. The present study is an exploratory examination of RHA use to avoid DUI behavior, as well as the perceived barriers and benefits of such RHA use, among young adult nightclub patrons in Miami who use drugs.
METHODS: Completers of a 2011-2015 randomized controlled trial of brief interventions to reduce health risk behaviors among young adult nightclub patrons were recruited to participate in a single self-administered computer-assisted interview about health risks, driving behaviors, and RHA perceptions and use. Recruitment (N = 123) began in June 2016 and ended in July 2017. Bivariable logistic regression and ANOVA models examined group differences between: (a) those who had used an RHA to avoid DUI vs. not; and (b) those who used RHAs as their primary mode of transportation to nightclubs vs. not.
RESULTS: About half were female (52.8%); median age was 29; 59.4% Hispanic, 31.7% Black, 8.1% white, 0.8% other race/ethnicity. Recent alcohol and marijuana use were almost universally endorsed, and more than half reported recent use/misuse of cocaine (72.4%), MDMA (63.4%), and prescription benzodiazepines (62.6%) and opioids (56.9%). More than 80% reported driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in the past 12 months, and 17.1% experienced a DUI arrest in the prior two years. Almost two-thirds (65.9%) of participants had used an on-demand RHA to avoid DUI, but self-driving or riding in another’s car were the most common (76.4%) primary modes of transportation to clubs. RHAs were the primary mode of travel to clubs for 21 (17.1%) respondents. Participants whose friends strongly disapproved of DUI were more than twice as likely to have used RHAs for this reason compared to those who had not done so. Those reporting RHA use to avoid DUI were less likely than others to have driven under the influence in the past 12 months and were somewhat more likely to endorse DUI-related risks. Those who used alternate modes of transportation were more likely than those who used RHAs as their primary mode of transportation to clubs to endorse the expense of RHAs and the lack of RHA drivers near their favorite clubs as barriers to RHA use to travel to nightclubs.
CONCLUSIONS: This novel study among a high-risk population points to the potential for on-demand RHAs to reduce DUI behaviors and arrests among young adult nightclub patrons who consume alcohol and/or drugs in the context of the club experience. Our findings point to key educational, peer support, and structural targets for intervention to increase the use of RHAs among this population, specifically, club-based incentives for increasing RHA availability and affordability. Research is needed to fully elucidate the findings of this exploratory study, including potential differences in intervention approaches depending on the location-specific public transportation options.