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.
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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.