Preventing Impaired Driving Opportunities and Problems

By Voas, Robert B.; Fell, James C. | Alcohol Research, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Preventing Impaired Driving Opportunities and Problems


Voas, Robert B., Fell, James C., Alcohol Research


Impaired driving remains a significant public health problem in the United States. Although impressive reductions in alcohol-related fatalities occurred between 1982 and 1997, during which all 50 States enacted the basic impaired-driving laws, progress has stagnated over the last decade. Substantial changes in the laws and policies or funding for the enforcement of the criminal offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are needed for further substantial progress in reducing alcohol-related crash injuries. However, research indicates that evidence-based laws in the 50 States and current best practices in DWI enforcement are not being fully adopted or used. It seems, however, that effective operations, such as the low-staff check points that are routinely applied in many communities, could be extended to many more police departments. In addition, several enforcement methods have been proposed but never fully tested. KEY WORDS: Problematic alcohol use; prevention; alcoholrelated injury prevention; alcoholrelated crash; alcoholrelated fatal crash; traffic accident; impaired driving; driving while intoxicated; driving under the influence; impaireddriving laws; drinkinganddriving laws; law enforcement; roadside sobriety checkpoint; blood alcohol content

In 1988, the U.S. Surgeon General'sWorkshop on Drunk Driving called attention to the broad range of strategies that affect the problemof impaired driving (U.S.Department of Health and Human Services 1989). Research presented at the workshop ranged from the effects of pricing, availability, advertising, marketing, and general epidemiology of alcohol consumption and alcohol problems to safety education, impaireddriving laws, sanctions, and treatment programs for offenders. The proceedings of that workshop demonstrated that impaired driving involves extremely broad public health aspects that cannot be covered in this brief article. Rather, this article reviews only the traditional, centuryold measure of deterring vehicle operators from driving while intoxicated (DWI) through laws (see table for a summary of these laws), law enforcement, and publiceducation programs. A case can be made that general deterrence strategies have had the most immediate and largest impact on the problem.

The Problem

There are more registered vehicles in the United States than there are licensed drivers to operate them. It is therefore not surprising that in a country where twothirds of the citizens drink alcohol, impaired driving is a significant public health problem. In the United States, alcohol has been associated with traffic crashes for more than 100 years, as indicated by the publication of the first scientific report on the effect of drinking by operators of "motorized wagons" in 1904 (Quarterly Journal of Inebriety 1904). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that impaired driving resulted in more than 14,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries in 2000 and cost society $51 billion in that year (Blincoe et al. 2000). Although alcohol consumption is legal for U.S. citizens aged 21 or older, it is illegal in all States to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 g/dL or greater (NHTSA 2004). In 2008, there were an estimated 11,773 trafficcrash fatalities involving drivers with BACs of 0.08 g/dL or higher (NHTSA 2009). Each year, more than 1.4 million drivers are arrested for DWI or driving under the influence (DUI) in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2008).

Evidence That Laws Addressing Impaired Driving Can Be Effective

From 1983 to 1997, the United States experienced a remarkable reduction in alcoholrelated fatal crashes. An analysis of fatalcrash data from 1982 to 2005 estimated that five basic alcohol safety laws accounted for 44 percent of the reduction in fatal crashes, as shown in figure 1 (Dang 2008). This analysis included data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which collects data on all fatal crashes occurring in the United States and is maintained by the NHTSA, as well as data from several other sources to account for factors such as age, gender, per capita alcohol consumption, time of day and day of the week the crash occurred, presence of important impaireddriving laws, and the level of impaireddriving enforcement that might moderate the influence of BAC on crashes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Preventing Impaired Driving Opportunities and Problems
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.