Latinos have been consistently overinvolved in alcohol-related motor-vehicle fatal crashes. The evidence suggests that although Latinos do not drink and drive more often than their White counterparts, they nevertheless appear to be overinvolved in DWI arrests and alcohol-related fatal crashes. Of particular relevance is the role that immigration plays in shaping the prevalence of Latinos in DWI events. Some authors have argued that immigrants, particularly recent immigrants, are less likely to recognize the impairing effects of alcohol and to understand the legal environment and consequences of drinking and driving. Other authors have argued that undocumented immigrants, in their attempts to remain "under the radar," are actually some of the safest drivers in America. How do Latinos in general and recent immigrants in particular perceive the risks of driving impaired (crash involvement and being arrested) and how such risk perception translates into actual drinking and driving, as well as into the adoption of specific countermeasures such as the designated driver (DD) concept is unclear. Such a lack of understanding stems from the complexities involved in performing research on Latinos, recent immigrants in particular. Difficulties in accessing that group (especially in undocumented), obtaining pre- immigration information are two of the many factors that have delayed research on this group. This proposed study will take advantage of a 5-year longitudinal study that has been collecting data on pre- and post- immigration factors that influence the alcohol and illicit drug use behaviors of recent male and female Latino immigrants to Florida, to acquire the much-needed information about their drinking-driving behaviors. The broad aim of this exploratory effort is to acquire much-needed information about the extent of the drinking- and-driving problem among recent Latino immigrants to Florida (if any), both legal and undocumented. Specifically, this study proposes: 1) To examine current (post-immigration) prevalence of drinking and driving, associated risk perceptions (risk of crash involvement, risk of being arrested), the understanding of drinking-and-driving laws, and the awareness and implementation of the DD concept among recent Latino immigrants to Florida. 2) To examine the likelihood that recent Latino immigrants to Florida will be involved in an alcohol-related impaired driving, as it is influenced by pre- and post-immigration factors and risk perceptions. 3) To estimate the prevalence of drugged-driving among recent Latino immigrants to Florida. The information to be acquired not only will be relevant per se, but also will be crucial to guide further research efforts.

Public Health Relevance

An evaluation of the level of understanding recent immigrants may have about alcohol-related traffic laws and policies, and their level of compliance and an estimation of the prevalence of the problem will be crucial to assessing the need for designing efficient countermeasures. If such a need were proven, this study will help the design of future, more comprehensive research efforts.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-DD (02))
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Godette, Dionne
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Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
United States
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