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Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI)

NHTSA’s objective is to foster widespread adoption of screening and brief intervention (SBI) by educating the public on its need and expectations during health care visits; educating health care providers on the benefits and methods of SBI; promoting adoption of SBI policies by health care institutions; and removing the barriers to conducting SBI such as alcohol exclusion laws that permit withholding of insurance coverage for alcohol-related injuries.

Impaired driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse. There is compelling evidence, detailed in scientific and medical literature, that screening and brief intervention is effective in reducing drinking and subsequent impaired-driving behaviors among problem drinkers.
More than 107 million people seek care in emergency departments (EDs) every year. Substantial numbers of those coming to the ED with injuries have alcohol use problems.  Almost one in six people treated in EDs for crash injuries is alcohol positive, and one third or more of those people admitted to trauma centers – those with the most serious crash injuries – test positive for alcohol.  These patients pose not only a public health problem, but also an opportunity for intervention.

            The agency has worked closely with many national organizations and other Federal agencies to identify, develop, and promote material and provide technical assistance as needed to establish screening and brief intervention as standard medical practice.  SBI tools are being developed and promoted for use with specific populations and settings such as college students and the workplace.  NHTSA supports technical workshops on SBI.  NHTSA is assisting Level I and II trauma centers to meet the new requirements established by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma to screen patients for alcohol and/or drug use problems.  For more detailed information on the SBI efforts, go to