; and Tippetts, A.S.
In Proceedings of Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety - T 2002: 16th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety, August 4-9, 2002
pgs. 927-933 , Montreal, Canada: International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS) (2002)
Editor(s): Mayhew, D.R.; and Dussault, C.The last two decades of the 20th century produced an explosion of alcohol-safety legislation and impaired-driving programs in the United States, in part stimulated by the growth in influence of citizen activist groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It was also encouraged by an unprecedented reduction in alcohol-related fatalities. As shown in Figure 1, between 1988 and 1994, alcohol-related fatalities in the U.S. fell from 23,626 to 16,580. However, six years later in the year 2000, there were 16,653 alcohol related fatalities (1). What happened? Why was the 30% drop over the six years prior to 1994 followed by a six year period of no reduction? This issue is coming to head this year because, in 1995, based on the dramatic reduction in alcohol-related fatalities occurring over the previous decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) led a national effort to organize industry and safety groups into a "Partners for Progress" organization devoted to reducing impaired driving in the U.S. That organization adopted a goal of reducing national alcohol-related fatalities to 11,000 by 2005. The failure to make any progress toward that goal since 1994 requires a new goal to be set for the coming decade. But, more important, it is raising the question of which laws and programs can restore the downward trend in alcohol-related fatalities. This paper examines the trend in fatal crash involvements from 1982 to 1999 to shed some light on the factors that may have influenced the initial reduction of alcohol-related fatalities.