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Drunk Driving

NCJ Number
Michael S. Scott; Nina J. Emerson; Louis B. Antonacci; Joel B. Plant
Date Published
February 2006
100 pages
After examining the factors, patterns, and harms in drunk driving, this book provides guidelines for understanding the problem of drunk driving in a particular police jurisdiction, followed by a research-based review of the features and effectiveness of various strategies that have been used to reduce drunk driving.
Drunk driving is a police concern because alcohol consumption increases the risk that drivers will cause vehicle crashes that can kill or injure themselves or others. One section of this book describes the characteristics of the typical drunk driver as well as repeat drunk-driving offenders. Blood alcohol levels are also discussed, along with drinking locations. Factors discussed as contributing to drunk driving are cultural and economic influences, the low risk of apprehension, the failure of alcoholic beverage servers to prevent excessive consumption, and the locating of licensed alcoholic beverage servers far from where people live and work. In providing guidance for the assessment of a local drunk-driving problem, the book focuses on the characteristics of drunk-driving incidents, victims, offenders, location and times, and current responses to the problem. Useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to drunk driving are outlined. The concluding section of the book describes and analyzes specific responses that have been used in attempting to reduce drunk driving. The responses are categorized as legislation, enforcement, the termination of driving privileges, criminal sanctions, the monitoring of drunk drivers, reduction in alcohol consumption, public education, the provision of alternative transportation, and environmental design. The responses indicated to have limited effectiveness are an increase in penalty severity, incarceration, fines, requiring drunk drivers to listen to victim impact panels, prohibition of drive-up alcohol sales, and high-school driver education courses. Appended summary of responses to drunk driving and 133 references