The effectiveness of alcohol control policies on alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States

Koyin Chang, Chin Chih Wu, Frank Y.-H. Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple alcohol control policies have been enacted since the early 1980s to keep drunk drivers off the roads and to prevent more alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In this paper, we analyze nine traffic policies to determine the extent to which each policy contributes to effective alcohol-related fatality prevention. Compared with the existing literature, this paper addresses a more comprehensive set of traffic policies. In addition, we used a panel GLS model that holds regional effects and state-specific time effects constant to analyze their impact on alcohol-related fatalities with two distinct rates: alcohol-related traffic deaths per capita and alcohol-related traffic deaths per total traffic deaths. While per capita alcohol-related traffic deaths is used more often in other studies, alcohol-related traffic deaths per total traffic deaths better reflects the impact of policies on deterring drunk driving. In addition, regional analyses were conducted to determine the policies that are more effective in certain regions. The findings of this study suggest that zero tolerance laws and increased beer taxes are the most effective policies in reducing alcohol-related fatalities in all regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-415
Number of pages10
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar 1



  • Alcohol-related traffic fatalities
  • Deterrent theory
  • Panel GLS model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law

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