Effectiveness of Drunk Driving Measures

Drunk Driving Measures and their Effectiveness

Another means of encouraging sober driving is by offering discounts and rebates to policyholders who sign agreements not to drink and drive. These plans vary by company. They range from immediate discounts to rebates after a stipulated crash-free period. At least two companies are currently expanding the number of states in which these programs are offered. The number of people who are drinking and driving has been declining.

Since 1982, traffic deaths involving drunk driving – legally intoxicated people have dropped two percent a year, on average. In addition, the proportion of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road on weekend nights declined by a third between 1973 and 1986. Nevertheless, according to the Department of Transportation, in 1987, 18,500 people were killed in crashes where a driver or victim had a BAC of 0.10 percent or above, and some 5,000 more were fatally injured in alcohol-related (BAC below 0.10 percent) crashes. Studies also show that in spite of increased attention to the problem, many drivers who are drunk still escape any penalties.

Since the issue of drunk driving came in for increased nationwide publicity in the early 1980s, studies have shown that public attitudes have shifted. There is greater awareness of the social costs of drunk driving and a trend toward societal approval of imposing stiffer penalties, especially for second offenders. Nevertheless, there is a need to keep reinforcing social awareness of the hazards of drunk driving, and some experts feel that overall social attitudes have not changed sufficiently.

The Harvard School of Public Health announced results of a study that said news media coverage of drunk driving issues had peaked in 1984 and declined since then. The school said it was undertaking a campaign to refocus attention on the problem of drunk driving.

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