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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 137129 Find in a Library
Title: 1980's Decline in Alcohol-Impaired Driving and Crashes and Why It Occurred
Journal: Alcohol, Drugs and Driving  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(January-March 1992)  Pages:71-76
Author(s): A F Williams
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Washington, DC 20037
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A decline in the percentage of fatally injured drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations in the early 1980's is attributed to reduced alcohol consumption in general, the emergence of citizen activist groups, and the proliferation of effective laws such as administrative license suspension and 21-year-old minimum alcohol purchase laws.
Abstract: The Fatal Accident Reporting System, a census of virtually all fatal crashes in the United States on public roads, contains information on blood alcohol test results for people in fatal crashes. Overall, the percentage of fatally injured drivers with blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.10 percent declined from 50 percent in 1980 to 40 percent in 1990. Declines were greatest among passenger vehicle and tractor-trailer drivers; there were smaller declines for motorcyclists and pedestrians. Surveys undertaken in 1973 and 1986 to determine the incidence of alcohol-impaired drivers on weekend nights revealed a substantial reduction in the number of drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations over the 13-year period. The author postulates that the declines are due to changing social norms regarding health-related behavior, increased grass roots activism related to alcohol-impaired driving that has heightened public awareness of the problem and energized the activities of government and other public and private agencies, and the proliferation of effective laws. In the latter part of the 1980's, the percentage of fatally injured drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations stabilized and public attention to the problem waned. Progress in dealing with the problem of alcohol-impaired driving and crashes can be realized through wider implementation of effective laws, additional strategies not based on deterrence, and a resurgence in public focus on the problem. 13 references, 2 tables, and 1 figure
Main Term(s): Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Index Term(s): Alcohol consumption analysis; Fatalities; Public Opinion of Crime; Traffic accidents
Note: Paper presented at an International Symposium on Problems with DWI Arrests, Convictions, and Sentencing, 1991, Santa Monica, California
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