skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 134797 Find in a Library
Title: General Deterrence of Drunk Driving: Evaluation of Recent American Policies
Journal: Risk Analysis  Volume:11  Issue:2  Dated:(1991)  Pages:279-289
Author(s): W N Evans; D Neville; J D Graham
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 11
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: State data from 1975 through 1986 were used to determine whether State laws increasing the certainty, severity, and swiftness of punishment for drunk driving have had an effect on the incidence of drinking and driving.
Abstract: Together, the 729 laws passed between 1981 and 1986 have increased the "punitive threat" and are intended to deter drunk driving. Most of these laws were passed in response to Federal legislation establishing financial incentives for States to bring their traffic safety programs into compliance with Federal recommendations. The analysis considered administrative per se laws, anti-plea bargaining statutes, mandatory penalties for first offenders, illegal per se statutes, preliminary breath tests, sobriety checkpoints, open container laws, mandatory seat belt laws, beer taxes, and other variables. Results provided no conclusive evidence that any specific form of punitive legislation is having a measurable effect on motor vehicle fatalities. However, the data suggest that multiple laws designed to increase the certainty of punishment (e.g., sobriety checkpoints and preliminary breath tests) have a synergistic deterrent effect. The most significant finding was that mandatory seat belt laws and beer taxes may be more effective at reducing fatalities from drunk driving than are policies aimed at general deterrence. Tables, footnotes, and 36 references
Main Term(s): Drunk driver programs; Legislative impact
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Highway safety; Seatbelt use; Sobriety checkpoints
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.