This publication is distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the interest of information exchange. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Department of Transportation or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. If trade or manufacturers' names or products are mentioned, it is only because they are considered essential to the object of the publication and should not be construed as an endorsement. The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
 DOT HS 809 348
2. Government Accession No.
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Determine Why There Are Fewer Young Alcohol Impaired Drivers

5. Report Date
September 2001
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

J.H. Hedlund, R.G. Ulmer and D.F. Preusser

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Preusser Research Group, Inc.
7100 Main Street
Trumbull, CT 06611

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report
July 1997-March 2000
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Dr. Linda Cosgrove served as the NHTSA Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for the study. We appreciate the guidance and support she provided. Dr. James Hedlund was an independent consultant to the project.

16. Abstract

The number of drinking drivers under the age of 21 involved in fatal crashes decreased by 61 percent over the past 17 years, from 4,393 in 1982 to 1,714 in 1998. This report investigates the causes of this substantial decline, which far exceeds the decline over the same period for older drivers. The report documents the changes in youth drinking and driving, and in youth drinking, and compares the changes across states and regions. There is solid evidence that four factors contributed to the decline: a shift in the age distribution of the U.S. population (the number of persons aged 15 to 20 decreased by 4 percent from 1982 to 1998 while the number of persons aged 25 to 54 increased by 31 percent), laws that increased the minimum drinking age to 21, laws that established .02 or less alcohol concentration for drivers under the age of 21, and general anti-drinking and driving efforts that affected drivers of all ages. However, these measures only partly account for the decline in crashes and the decline in self-reported youth drinking and driving. While lacking comprehensive evaluation evidence, the many education and information programs implemented during this period also appear to have been a significant factor.

17. Key Words

Youth Drinking and Driving
Traffic Fatalities
Youth Programs

18. Distribution Statement

Document is available through the
National Technical Information Service
Springfield, VA 22161

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

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