Alcohol-Related Crashes and Traffic Enforcement.

What’s the impact of traffic enforcement on alcohol-related crashes? And especially on deaths? Does impaired driving enforcement reduce such deaths? Any link between crashes and traffic enforcement is important to know. And to act on. Lives are at stake.

crashes and traffic enforcementData from 29 states and D.C. over a ten-year period were used. They were examined for each year for each state. The number of drivers in fatal crashes with a BAC at least .08 was recorded. So was the number with a BAC of .00. A ratio was then calculated. Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests per capita were also calculated.

To strengthen findings, adjustments were made for possible confounders.

Vehicle miles traveled.
Sex and race.
Drivers aged 21-34.
Family income.

The findings held. DUI arrests per capita predicted the ratio of intoxicated drivers to zero BAC drivers killed crashes.

In short, increased enforcement reduced alcohol-impaired crashes.


The policy implications are clear. Enforcement saves lives. It can also generate revenue. That’s a win-win approach.

Source: Yao, J., Johnson, M.B., and Tippitts, S. Enforcement uniquely predicts reductions in alcohol-impaired crash fatalities. Addict., 2015. ePub. DOI 10.1111/add.13198

See Also

Drinking and Driving

DWI/DUI Facts & Fiction: Urban Myths


Readings on Crashes and Traffic Enforcement.

Fell, J.C., et al. Relationship of impaired-driving enforcement intensity to drinking and driving on the roads. Alco Clin Exper Res., 2014,

Lacey, J.H. and R. K. Jones, R.K.  Evaluation of New Mexico’s Anti-DWI Efforts. 2000. Washington, DC: NHTSA, 2000.

Levy, A., and Shea, D. An assessment of county programs to reduce driving while intoxicated. Hlth Ed Res., 1990, 5, 247-255.

Peek-Asa C. The effect of random alcohol screening in reducing motor vehicle crash injuries. Am J Prev Med., 1999, 16:57’“67.

Shults R.A., et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Am J Prev Med. 2001, 21:66’“88.

Ross H.L. Prevention and deterrence. Alco Hlth Res World. 1982, 7:26’“30, 39’“43.

Voas,  R.B., et al. The effect of drinking and driving interventions on alcohol-involved traffic crashes.  Addict. 92 ,1997, S221-S236.