Grube, Joel W.
In Traffic Safety and Alcohol Regulation: A Symposium
pgs. 13-30 , (2007)Broadly defined, alcohol policy includes (a) formal legal and regulatory mechanisms, rules, and procedures for controlling consumption of alcohol or risky drinking behaviors and (b) enforcement of these measures (Grube, 2005; Grube and Nygaard, 2001, 2005; Toomey and Wagenaar, 1999). Such policies can be implemented at the national, state, local, or institutional level. Alcohol policies can focus on restricting access or availability, deterrence, or harm reduction, although the distinction among these approaches is often blurred. A number of policy options seem to be effective in reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-related crashes and fatalities, including price, lower per se blood alcohol contents, random breath testing or sobriety checkpoints, graduated driver licensing, zero tolerance laws, and higher legal drinking ages. Social host liability and dram shop liability appear promising for reducing drinking and drinking-related problems. There is some empirical support for responsible beverage service programs, particularly those that are mandated or motivated by reduction of liability. The evidence is growing for the effects of outlet license restrictions (e.g., outlet density, hours of sale). Evidence that designated driver and safe rides programs are effective strategies for preventing drinking and driving is largely lacking. For many policy strategies there is simply not sufficient research to evaluate their effects. Such research should be conducted to inform policy or at least to evaluate policies as they are implemented.