Document Type

Other

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Social issues

Publication Details

Undergraduate project undertaken as part of the College Awareness of Road Safety (CARS) project. This was a collaborative project with the Garda Road Safety Unit and was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the B.SC. in Forensic and Environmental Chemistry.

Abstract

The aim of this project was to increase awareness on the dangers associated with drink driving and how alcohol can impact on new and recently qualified drivers. To achieve this, volunteers were asked to complete a survey as well as supply breath and urine samples the morning after they had consumed alcohol. This approach was used to highlight to volunteers that it is still possible to be over the legal limit the day after consuming alcohol. The survey was used to test the knowledge of the volunteers on the rules of the road and how alcohol impairs drivers. This project was carried out previously by two other students therefore the main emphasis of this project was to focus on raising awareness on the lower limits for new and recently qualified drivers. The project consisted of analysing urine samples provided by volunteers the morning after they had consumed alcohol. This was achieved using gas chromatography. The results obtained from these samples were then compared to the current legal limits for alcohol as stated by the Road Traffic Act 2010. The samples were analysed by preparing ethanol working standards to produce a standard calibration curve as well as using propan-­‐1-­‐ol as an internal standard. The curve was performed once a week and the equation of the line was used to determine the amount of ethanol present in each urine sample. Diasys check standards were run before urine samples were analysed to ensure that the GC was operating correctly. A total of 17 urine samples were analysed, 10 of these samples tested positive for alcohol. Of the 10 samples supplied by volunteers, 8 samples were determined to be over the legal limit for both specified and full licence drivers, 1 sample was over the limit for specified drivers but under the limit for full licence drivers, while the final sample was under the limit for both specified and full licence drivers. Breath samples were provided by student volunteers in DIT Kevin Street and were analysed using the BACtrack Breathalyser. A total of 30 student volunteers were breathalysed, 3 of which tested positive for alcohol. All three students were over the legal vii limit for specified drivers. Two of these three students were over the limit for specified drivers but under the limit for full licence drivers, while one student was over the limit for both a specified and full licence driver. In total, 86 volunteers were surveyed as part of the project. These surveys were distributed online, at the breathalyser event and as part of the urine sampling packs. Of the volunteers surveyed, 34% answered correctly when asked what the legal limit for a full licence driver is and 58% answered correctly when asked what the legal limit for a specified driver is.

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