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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73875 Find in a Library
Title: To Promote Traffic Safety Should We Concentrate on Alcohol, on Speeding, or on Speeding Plus Alcohol? (From International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety - Seventh - Proceedings, P 379-399, 1979, Ian R Johnston, ed. - See NCJ-73856)
Author(s): R N Harger
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: Data from two nationwide road traffic experiments--35 Alcohol Safety Action Projects (ASAP) and reduction of the legal speed limit to 55 mph-- are reviewed to determine whether decreases in traffic death rates can be attributed to greater obedience of the drunk driving laws.
Abstract: ASAP projects operated in 35 States during a 3-year period between 1971 and 1975 and cost about $78 million, with the largest portion of the ASAP budget assigned to enforcement operations. Although the arrests for driving while intoxicated (DWI) doubled during the first ASAP operational year, and increased a further 25 percent during the second operational year, the conviction rate averaged only 54 percent. Most of the drivers found guilty of DWI were not punished but were given rehabilitation treatment. Also, 15 percent were rearrested for DWI within the next 18 months. In addition, the average yearly traffic death toll for the three pre-ASAP years did not change significantly during the first 2 ASAP years on the highways included within ASAP regional sites. During the first 2 years after the 55 mph law became effective (1974-75), average speed on U.S. highways dropped from 60.3 to 55.5 mph, and the traffic death rate dropped 21 percent, a decrease that was distributed in all of the 50 States. Decreases in traffic deaths equalled a considerable fraction of total murders in some States, and exceeded murders in others, the decrease equalling about half of total U.S. murders. It is concluded that better enforcement of all traffic safety laws is the best procedure to discourage DWI. Better patrolling for traffic law offenses will apprehend drunken drivers and catch them again if they drive with licenses suspended. It is urged that surveys be conducted in the States of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Ohio to learn how these States have maintained very good traffic safety records. Ten tables, ten figures, and 25 references are provided. (Author abstract modified.)
Index Term(s): Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Highway safety; Traffic accident management; Traffic law enforcement; Traffic offenses
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