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Int J Alcohol Drug Res. 2015;4(2):119-130.

Alcohol policies and impaired driving in the United States: Effects of driving- vs. drinking-oriented policies.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
2
Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA.
3
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN.
4
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
5
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA.

Abstract

AIMS:

To test the hypotheses that stronger policy environments are associated with less impaired driving and that driving-oriented and drinking-oriented policy subgroups are independently associated with impaired driving.

DESIGN:

State-level data on 29 policies in 50 states from 2001-2009 were used as lagged exposures in generalized linear regression models to predict self-reported impaired driving.

SETTING:

Fifty United States and Washington, D.C.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 1,292,245 adults (≥ 18 years old) biennially from 2002-2010.

MEASURES:

Alcohol Policy Scale scores representing the alcohol policy environment were created by summing policies weighted by their efficacy and degree of implementation by state-year. Past-30-day alcohol-impaired driving from 2002-2010 was obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys.

FINDINGS:

Higher Alcohol Policy Scale scores are strongly associated with lower state-level prevalence and individual-level risk of impaired driving. After accounting for driving-oriented policies, drinking-oriented policies had a robust independent association with reduced likelihood of impaired driving. Reduced binge drinking mediates the relationship between drinking-oriented policies and impaired driving, and driving-oriented policies reduce the likelihood of impaired driving among binge drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Efforts to reduce alcohol-impaired driving should focus on reducing excessive drinking in addition to preventing driving among those who are impaired.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol policy; alcohol-impaired driving; binge drinking; public health law

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