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Traffic Inj Prev. 2012;13(1):1-6. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2011.633235.

Fatal crashes of 16- to 17-year-old drivers involving alcohol, nighttime driving, and passengers.

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  • 1Allan F. Williams LLC, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



The objective of this study was to provide a contemporary analysis of the alcohol-impaired driving problem among 16- to 17-year-olds and to consider the potential role of night and passenger restrictions in dealing with the alcohol problem by determining how many of the alcohol-related crashes take place at night or with passengers.


The data were derived from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 16- to 17-year-old passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes during 2005-2009.


During the 5-year period, 15 percent of the 8664 16- to 17-year-old drivers in fatal crashes had positive blood alcohol concentrations, most of which were 0.08 percent or greater. Drivers in alcohol-related crashes were more likely than those in non-alcohol-related crashes to be male, unbelted, in single vehicles, and speeding, and their crashes were more likely to occur on Saturday or Sunday, at night, and when passengers were present. Of the alcohol-related crashes, 88 percent took place at night or with passengers present or both, as did 67 percent of the non-alcohol-related crashes.


Stronger night and passenger restrictions with increased compliance and greater application of alcohol-specific policies would likely be effective in reducing the alcohol-related and non-alcohol-related crashes of 16- to 17-year-olds. Increasing the licensing age beyond age 16 would supplement the effectiveness of these actions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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