Enforce Impaired Driving Laws

Description of Strategy

Impaired driving is one of the most often committed and deadliest crimes in the United States. Impaired driving includes operating a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol, legal, or illegal drugs, being too sleepy or distracted (such as talking or texting on a cell phone), or having a medical condition which affects your driving (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012). Laws aimed at reducing alcohol-related impaired driving include blood alcohol concentration limits and open container restrictions. These laws may be enforced through sobriety checkpoints or routine traffic stops. Enforcing impaired driving laws could reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related car crashes.

As of July 2011, Wyoming state law allows police officers to require motorists pulled over for suspected alcohol or drug use to take a breath, blood, or urine test (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 31-6-102, 2017). This implied consent law aims to help police officers enforce impaired driving laws.

Also known as...

DUI enforcement

Discussion of Effectiveness


Evidence generally supports the effectiveness of enforcement of impaired driving laws for alcohol-related outcomes, both as an individual strategy and as part of a multi-component strategy. Studies evaluating enforcement of impaired driving laws through sobriety checkpoints found it to be an effective strategy for reducing alcohol-related traffic crashes (Clapp et al., 2005; Shults et al., 2001). Two systematic reviews (University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 2017; The Community Guide, 2012) found sobriety checkpoints were more effective when publicized. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s systematic review found that states with sobriety checkpoint laws have lower rates of drunk driving than states without, and that states with frequent (i.e. at least monthly) sobriety checkpoints have lower rates of drunk driving than states that conduct checkpoints less frequently. The review also found some evidence that sobriety checkpoints are successful in reducing underage alcohol use. Enforcement of impaired driving laws through mandatory fine policies were associated with an average reduction in fatal crash involvement by impaired drivers, while mandatory minimum jail policies were associated with a decline in single-vehicle nighttime fatal crash involvement and a decline in low-BAC cases (Wagenaar et al., 2007; Sen, 2001).

Prescription & Other Drugs

No studies were located that specifically evaluated enforcement of impaired driving laws and drug-related outcomes.


Strategy Description

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2012). Impaired Driving. Retrieved July 26, 2012

Wyoming Statute Annotated § 31-6-102 (2012). Retrieved September 10, 2012

Evidence Base

The Community Guide, Community Preventive Services Task Force. Retrieved September 27, 2017

Clapp, J. D., Johnson, M., Voas, R. B., Lange, J. E., Shillington, A., & Russell, C. (2005). Reducing DUI among US college students: Results of an environmental prevention trial. Addiction, 100(3), 327–334. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2004.00917.x

Cohen, D. A., Mason, K., & Scribner, R. (2002). The population consumption model, alcohol control practices, and alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Preventive Medicine, 34(2), 187–197. doi:10.1006/pmed.2001.0970

Holder,H. D., Gruenewald, P.J., Ponicki, W.R., Treno, A.J., Grube, J.W., Saltz, R.F., … Roeper, P.(2000). Effect of community-based interventions on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(18), 2341-2347.

Sen, A. (2001). Do stricter penalties deter drinking and driving? An empirical investigation of Canadian impaired driving laws. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d’économique, 34(1), 149–164. doi:10.1111/0008-4085.00067

Shults, R. A., Elder, R. W., Sleet, D. A., Nichols, J. L., Alao, M. O., Carande-Kulis, V. G., … Thompson, R. S. (2001). Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 21(4, Suppl. 1), 66–88. doi: 10.1016/S0749-3797(01)00381-6

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps (2017). Breath testing checkpoints. Retrieved September 27, 2017

Wagenaar, A. C., Maldonado-Molina, M. M., Erickson, D. J., Ma, L., Tobler, A. L., & Komro, K. A. (2007). General deterrence effects of U.S. statutory DUI fine and jail penalties: Long-term follow-up in 32 states. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 39(5), 982–994. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2007.01.003

Futher Reading

Geier, M. (2003). A new approach to underage drinking enforcement. Law & Order, 51(3), 96, 98, 100, 102–103.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (n.d.). Youth impaired driving manual for sheriffs- part two: program strategies. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.

Stewart, K. (2000). A guide for enforcing impaired driving laws for youth. Calverton, MD: Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.