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Traffic Inj Prev. 2009 Oct;10(5):410-4. doi: 10.1080/15389580903131506.

Ethnicity, age, and trends in alcohol-related driver fatalities in the United States.

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University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas, Texas 75390-9128, USA.



To evaluate the 8-year ethnic-specific declining trend in the proportion of alcohol-impaired driver deaths in the United States.


We used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which is a census of all fatal motor vehicle collisions occurring in public properties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico since 1975. For this study we only focused on driver fatalities. Data on ethnicity were not included in the FARS database until 1999, limiting the analysis to the years 1999-2006.


The proportion of alcohol-impaired driver deaths was higher among males compared to females, with Hispanics constituting the highest proportion in all age groups. During the past 8 years, only the decline in the proportion of alcohol-impaired driver deaths among male Hispanics 16-20 years old and male Whites 21-64 years old were significant. We were not able to identify any significant declining trend in the corresponding proportions among other age groups, or among female drivers, regardless of their age category.


Though existing strategies have seemed to be successful in preventing an uptrend in alcohol-related fatal collisions in the country, their effectiveness in decreasing such incidents has been limited. Future studies should identify the factors that might influence the effectiveness of current anti-drunk driver policies.

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