Point-of-collection testing devices for drug detection in drivers: The Brazilian study database

Published: 26-06-2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/tm2gfbs57y.1
Juliana Scherer,
Vinícius Serafini Roglio,
Roberta Bristot Silvestrin,
Tanara Sousa,
Flavio Pechansky


This was a cross-sectional roadside survey. Data collection was conducted during checkpoints carried out by traffic agents from the State Department of Transportation of Rio Grande do Sul (DETRAN-RS) and the Federal Highway Police (PRF-RS) in metropolitan area of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as part of their standard operating procedures. The days and places of data collection were chosen by convenience, according with police availability and planning. The study was carried out between April and September 2016 from Tuesday to Saturday nights (11 PM - 5 AM). All drivers stopped at the routine roadblocks for impaired driving completed a standard protocol performed by traffic agents that include verification of documents followed by breathalyzer testing. In accordance with Brazilian laws, the realization of a breathalyzer test is not mandatory; however, if the driver refuses to participate, a traffic ticket is applied. During data collection, a total of 3,321 drivers were approached at the checkpoints - with all of them being submitted to this initial assessment. Breath tests were conducted using the Alco-Sensor IV (Intoximeters Inc.) or BAF-300 (Elec Inc.) models. Besides the standard protocol, traffic agents were trained and instructed to evaluate possible signs and symptoms of intoxication using a standardized evaluation protocol. This protocol evaluated 10 dimensions of symptoms concerning alterations in psychomotor skills (orientation, mental status, coordination, gestures/signs, breath smell, appearance of the eyes and face, speech, attitude, body reaction) and was adapted from the DRUID project (DRUID 2009) and from previous Brazilian protocols (BRASIL, 2013). Drivers were invited to participate in the present study if they fulfilled any legal criteria that prevented them from returning to drive, such as: (a) having a BrAC superior to 0.04 mg/L of breath , (b) refusing to perform the breath test; (c) presenting signs and symptoms of alcohol and/or other psychoactive substances (PAS) intoxication (evaluated by the pre-established protocol mentioned above); (d) not having a valid driver’s license; (e) any other legal criteria that might prevent them from driving again in that circumstance. These conservative and restricted inclusion criteria were used due to the fact that if the driver reported confidentially the recent use of alcohol and/or drug during research interview, would not be ethical to let him/her return to driving at the end of the study. Drivers with inclusion criteria were invited to participate in the study by a senior researcher. During invitation, drivers received a brief explanation of the study and, if they manifest interest in participating, they were forwarded by a trained interviewer in a reserved place assembled for the data collection. All drivers that agreed participating in the study signed an informed consent.