Archive for the 'drunk driving' Category

The Worldwide Decline in Drinking and Driving

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

While this research is not new, it is worth revisiting. In 1993 traffic safety experts convened from six countries to report on progress against the drinking and driving problem. Statistical records kept from 1982-1992 for alcohol-related traffic fatalities in each of the following countries show the following trends:

United Kingdom: 50% Decline
Germany: 37% Decline
Australia: 32% Decline
The Netherlands: 28% Decline
Canada: 28% Decline
United States: 26% Decline

This downward trend in drunk driving across the board shows quite clearly that the 21 year-old drinking age in the United States was, at best, the least effective measure to limit drunk driving amongst these developed countries and, more likely, is falsely credited as the key to changing social mores that in fact changed across all industrialized countries with no drinking age changes. Amongst these six countries only the US raised the drinking age (in 1984) to curb drunk driving; others adopted policies that recognized drinking and driving as an especially dangerous outcome of irresponsible drinking behavior. Rather than target drinking, they targeted behavior. Nearly all countries stepped up intoxicated driving enforcement and lowered legal BAC level. The Netherlands, recognizing that drinking and driving was a behavior best limited if prevented early, lowered BAC levels further for young drivers. Not a single country outside of the US lowered the drinking age, and yet every last one of them managed to reduce alcohol-related fatalities at higher rates than the US. It would seem that the drinking age then is the least effective way to reduce drinking and driving.

[CR] finds headlines again

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Choose Responsibility found itself in the headlines again today. Two interviews with Choose Responsibility’s John McCardell, one in print in US News and World Report and one on air on NPR’s Here and Now, emphasize the reality of the 21 year-old drinking age’s failure to prevent young adults from consuming alcohol in irresponsible ways.

An editorial by Columnist Radley Balko also appeared online where he discusses at length what has changed in the 20 years since the drinking age was raised to 21. He writes, “But after 20 years, perhaps it’s time to take a second look — a sound, sober (pardon the pun), science-based look — at the law’s costs and benefits. McCardell provides a welcome voice in a debate too often dominated by hysterics. But beyond McCardell, Congress should really consider abandoning the federal minimum altogether or at least the federal funding blackmail that gives it teeth.”

News articles in college newspapers continued to roll in as well: The Middlebury Campus, The Kent Stater.