A Case for Regulation: Less Access to Alcohol, Fewer Traffic Deaths

Research on the structure, policies, and practices of alcohol beverage control agencies

Investigators at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center examined the relationship between regulatory practices of alcohol-control agencies and alcohol-related traffic deaths in 107 cities that participate in the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Investigators surveyed state Alcohol Beverage Control agencies and local city police departments in the 107 cities and interviewed staff from alcohol-enforcement agencies in 20 cities. The goal was to determine whether local policies and practices reduce alcohol-related automobile fatalities.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) (for more information see Program Results).

Key Findings: In the February 2002 issue of Preventive Medicine investigators reported that lower rates of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, were found in states and communities that:

  • Limit alcohol accessibility.
  • Require licensure of outlets selling alcohol.
  • Provide for disciplinary actions against outlets that violate laws.
  • Enforce blood alcohol concentration laws.