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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving in Community Sports Clubs: Evaluating the Good Sports Program

The Good Sports program uses a systematic accreditation process to implement gradual alcohol-related harm-reduction strategies in Australian community sports clubs that aim to reduce the incidence of harmful alcohol-related behaviors, such as drink driving. This study tested whether the Good Sports program reduced the incidence of drink driving and whether reductions are related to the level of program implementation.

An adoption versus nonadoption pilot study was undertaken with 65 cricket and 48 Australian Football League clubs (N = 1,968 individuals). Associations between the stage of accreditation (Stage 1 and Stage 2) and the likelihood of driving with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) were examined. Alcohol-use diary accounts were used to calculate BAC before driving home from the club.

The percentage of club members driving at least once in the previous week with a BAC estimate greater than .05% (the legal limit in Australia) was lower in clubs that had achieved Stage 2 Good Sports accreditation (7%, 95% CI [5%, 9%]) than those that had not (8%, 95% CI [6%, 9%]), but this was not significantly different. However, multilevel modeling identified a larger number of the safe-transport strategies, implemented as part of Stage 2 accreditation, which were associated with a significantly lower probability of drink driving. Being a risky drinker at the club, and the average number of risky drinkers at the club, was also predictive of drink driving.

The findings of this pilot study suggest that implementation of the Good Sports program is likely to have a significant effect on harms associated with drink driving in Australia and elsewhere. Further community studies will be required, however, to examine precisely how the program is achieving improvements and whether it can be refined to have a greater impact in both Australia and overseas.

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