Blood alcohol concentration, drinking history, and sociodemographic factors predicting alcohol use disorder among "hard core" offenders in Germany


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Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the greatest dangers to the safety of road users not only in Germany, but across the rest of the world. An essential indicator for both punitive and corrective measures as well as for the prediction of recidivism is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This paper examines the relationships between BAC of first-time offenders, former drinking history, traffic related alcohol problem (TRAP), and the outcome of a medical-psychological assessment. The concept of TRAP combines syndromes from Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) and a non-clinical delinquency category (drink and drive issue without AUD). It is in use for diagnostics among "hard core" alcohol-impaired offenders according to a diagnostic model which is applied in Germany and accepted by the legislator. The present study (N = 505) showed that a BAC of 0.11% upwards must be considered as a risk parameter for the identification of drivers with non-normative, and therefore traffic safety impairing drinking patterns. The importance of BAC as a risk indicator for road safety is underlined by significant correlations between BAC with drinking history and TRAP, but its prognostic value is poor, since BAC was unrelated to the outcome of the medical-psychological assessment. It could be demonstrated that TRAP severity increases with higher age, higher BAC, greater number of drinking days, higher occasion-related drinking amounts, and non-social drinking motivation (against stress and tension). Practical consequences are drawn regarding preconditions for re-issuing a driving licence.