Drink-driving remains one of the biggest killers on roads worldwide. Use this page to access research on the effects of alcohol on driving, and measures to combat drink-driving.
GB road deaths in 2015 attributed to drink-driving
National Police Chief's Council, Great Britain, 11/08/16
Differentiation between driver impairment caused by alcohol and driver impairment caused by alcohol and drugs
University of Zurich, Switzerland, 11/08/16
Sobriety checkpoint and open container laws in U.S.: Associations with reported drinking-driving
University of Minnesota, USA, 16/03/16
Introducing sobriety checkpoints, as well as enforcing open-container laws, may be effective strategies in addressing drink-driving.
The Swedish Joint Action Method against Drink Driving - A Study of Suspected Drink Drivers' Own Experiences
Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 18/02/16
Drink-drivers who accept help from treatment services under a joint action method called SMADIT gain insights into the harm caused by their drink-driving compared to their attitudes directly after the incident.
The Predictive Influence of Youth Assets on Drinking and Driving Behaviors in Adolescence and Young Adulthood
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, USA, 16/01/16
Parental monitoring is the most important influence in reducing the likelihood of a young person drink-driving and travelling with a driver who has been drinking.
Characteristics and Predictors of Recidivist Drink-Drivers
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada, 13/01/16
Drink-drivers who are at increased risk of reoffending could be identified by examining indicators of other increased alcohol-related problems.
A Systematic Review of Intervening to Prevent Driving While Intoxicated: The Problem of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
University of Michigan, USA, 12/01/16
An overview of effective public education messages and campaigns that dissuade people from drink-driving is presented in Substance Use & Misuse.
The Road Safety Monitor 2015: Drinking and driving in Canada
Traffic Injury Research Foundation, December 2015
A factsheet summarising the results of a national opinion poll on drink-driving in Canada.
Impact of State Ignition Interlock Laws on Alcohol-Involved Crash Deaths in the United States
Health Policy Program at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, 23/12/15
States that require alcohol ignition interlocks for all people convicted of drink-driving were associated with 15% fewer alcohol-related crash deaths than states with less stringent requirements.
Evaluation of the general deterrence capacity of recently implemented (2009–2010) low and Zero BAC requirements for drivers in Ontario
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, Toronto, Canada, 22/12/15
A zero-tolerance policy, with immediate roadside suspension for drivers with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05% or above, is associated with a 17% decrease in the number of people injured or killed in drink-drive crashes in Ontario, Canada.
Locked and not loaded: First time offenders and state ignition interlock programs
Economics Department, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA, 10/11/15
US states that adopt mandatory alcohol interlocks for first-time drink drive offenders see a decrease of 9% in fatal drink drive crashes.
A comprehensive examination of U.S. laws enacted to reduce alcohol-related crashes among underage drivers
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), USA, 28/08/15
Reducing the amount that teenagers drink can be an effective policy intervention to prevent teenage drink-drive crashes.
Substance misuse and driving
University of Bristol, 03/08/15
Advice for doctors calling for them to take into account drink and drug driving when dealing with patients with substance abuse issues.
Profiling drunk driving recidivists in Denmark
Technical University of Denmark, 04/08/15
People in Denmark convicted multiple times for drink driving are more often from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds.
One for the Road: A Comparison of Drinking and Driving Behavior Among Younger and Older Adults Involved in Fatal Crashes
University of New York, July 2015
Drivers in fatal drink drive crashes who are under the legal limit are more likely to be older, indicating the need for continuing education, finds the City .
Increasing Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use: Successful Practices for States
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
A set of best practices on alcohol interlock use for US states is launched by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Studies explore the high rates of drinking and driving.
A83 Road traffic injuries and Alcohol: Double jeopardy in Pacific Island nations fuelled by inequitably distributed determinants of health
Studies explore the high rates of drinking and driving.
IPR Policy Brief - The cost of binge drinking in the UK.
University of Bath, March 2015
Binge drinking increases the daily number of crashes on British roads by 17%.
Prevalence of alcohol and drugs among motorcycle riders killed in road crashes in Norway during 2001–2010
Norwegian Institute of Public Health , 01/05/15
64% of car drivers, and 44% of motorcyclists, killed in single-vehicle crashes in Norway had alcohol in their body.
Modeling the Injury Prevention Impact of Mandatory Alcohol Ignition Interlock Installation in All New US Vehicles
University of Michigan, 01/05/15
Mandatory alcohol interlocks on all new US vehicles would be cost effective within three years.
Enforcement of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Laws in the United States: A National Survey of State and Local Agencies
University of Minnesota, 24/04/15
The enforcement of drink driving laws varies across the USA.
Temporal Patterns of Alcohol Consumption and Alcohol-Related Road Accidents in Young Swiss Men: Seasonal, Weekday and Public Holiday Effects
University of Zurich, 22/04/15
An increase in drink driving is seen in Switzerland on weekends, summer weekdays, and national holidays.
Legal consequences for alcohol-impaired drivers injured in motor vehicle collisions: A systematic review
Dalhousie University, Canada, 17/04/15
Most drink drivers who are admitted to hospital are never charged or prosecuted.
Are the Public Health Responsibility Deal alcohol pledges likely to improve public health? An evidence synthesis
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine , 26/03/15
Making alcohol less available and more expensive are the most effective ways of reducing alcohol consumption.
Association between alcohol-impaired driving enforcement-related strategies and alcohol-impaired driving
University of Minnesota, 07/03/15
Enforcement checks such as sobriety checkpoints and patrols are effective, yet a bigger impact is seen when a combination of strategies is used.
Exploring the influences of country-level factors on mature-aged women’s drink driving attitudes
CARRS-Q, Australia, 06/03/15
Women in Sweden view driving on any amount of alcohol as 'drink driving', whereas women in Australia view driving after small amounts of alcohol as acceptable.
Alcohol Consumption and Fatal Injuries in Australia Before and After Major Traffic Safety Initiatives: A Time Series Analysis
Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Australia, 26/01/15
As per-capita alcohol consumption increases, so do fatal injuries on the roads
Associations between driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding and seatbelt use among fatally injured car drivers in Norway
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 25/02/15
A study of drivers killed in crashes finds 40% had taken drugs or alcohol, and that speeding and non-seatbelt use are more common with alcohol and amphetamine use.
Effects of Brief Alcohol Interventions on Drinking and Driving among Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Vanderbilt University, USA, 01/12/15
Educational interventions of under five hours for younger drivers may be effective in preventing them drink driving.
Drink Driving vs. Drunk Driving: One Letter Makes All the Difference
John Hopkins UniversityAssociation, 01/01/15
The term “drunk driving” is misleading from both a research and public affairs perspective, and “drink driving” is preferred.
Stopping drink driving will take more than just lower limit
New Zealand Automobile Association, 18/11/14
Reducing drink driving requires tougher penalties and alcohol interlocks for the highest-risk drivers.
Technical development and deployment of alcohol interlocks in road safety policy
European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism, 01/03/14
Fitting alcohol interlocks to the vehicles of convicted drink-drivers could save 1,100 lives over 10 years in Europe.
A comparison of the combined-use of alcohol and energy drinks to alcohol-only on high-risk drinking and driving behaviors
Logan University, USA, 30/09/14
Young drivers are more likely to knowingly drink-drive, or get into a car with someone they know has been drinking, if they’ve drunk alcohol mixed with energy drinks.
Drinking among British women and its impact on their pedestrian and driving activities
Social Research Associates, 09/09/14
UK women underestimate the alcoholic content of drinks and overestimate how much they can drink before reaching the legal drink drive limit.
Tackling drink driving in Europe: alco gates in Sweden
An automated alcohol testing gate trialled at a Swedish port was effective in detecting drink drivers entering the country, and deterring drivers from drinking before their journey into Sweden.
Socialising, drinking and safer car travel for young adults
RAC Foundation, 24/06/14
Anti-drink drive campaigns for young drivers should emphasise the consequences of getting caught and include advice for passengers.
Brake calls for zero-tolerance on at-work drink- and drug-drivers
Brake and Licence Bureau, 06/05/14
Four in ten (44%) employers with staff who drive for work would dismiss an employee for driving over the legal alcohol limit.
Child Passenger Deaths Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers
Centers for Disease Control, 05/05/14
65% of children killed in drink-drive crashes in the US between 2001 and 2010 were the passengers of alcohol-impaired drivers.
Reduction in Fatalities, Ambulance Calls, and Hospital Admissions for Road Trauma After Implementation of New Traffic Laws
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Pavilion, 24/04/14
Drink-related road deaths dropped 52% in the two years following introduction of heavy penalties for drink drivers in British Columbia, Canada.
Technical development and deployment of alcohol interlocks in road safety policy
European Parliament, 30/03/14
Mandatory alcohol interlocks for repeat or high-level drink-drivers in all European member states could save more than 1,000 lives over ten years.
Profile of women detected drink driving via Roadside Breath Testing in Queensland, Australia, between 2000 and 2011
Queensland University of Technology, 18/03/14
Female drink drivers in Australia tend to be older and have lower rates of reoffending than male drink drivers.
Culpability of drivers killed in New Zealand road crashes and use of alcohol and other drugs
New Zealand Environmental Science and Research, 02/03/14
Drivers who have taken psychoactive drugs are more than three times as likely to be at fault in fatal collisions as sober drivers.
Prevalence of alcohol and other drugs and the concentrations in blood of drivers killed in road traffic crashes in Sweden
National Board of Forensic Medicine, 17/02/14
21% of drivers killed in road crashes in Sweden between 2008 and 2011 were above the limit of 20mg alcohol/100ml blood.
Stand-off detection of alcohol in car cabins
Military University of Technology, Warsaw, 14/02/14
A prototype device that is effective in detecting alcohol vapour in vehicles could assist police in targeting drink-drivers.
Fewer drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland failed or refused breath tests during the annual Christmas drink-drive crackdown despite 9% more breath tests administered than the previous year.
Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content
University of California, 07/01/14
Drink drivers with as little as 10mg alcohol/100ml blood are 46% more likely to be at fault in collisions than sober drivers.
Standing up to ‘designated drivers’ who drink
Brake and Direct Line, 10/12/13
Only one in three drivers in the UK would refuse to get in the car with a designated driver who had been drinking.
Alcohol ignition interlock schemes: best practice review
Centre for Automotive Safety Research, 30/11/13
Extending alcohol interlock use to first-time offenders and at-work drivers would normalise their use and reduce drink drive recidivism.
Analysis of Passenger Vehicle Driver Restraint Use in Fatal Crashes
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30/09/13
Drivers with BAC over 150mg alcohol/100ml blood are four times more likely to drive without seat belts than sober drivers.
Educating girls on how alcohol is processed by women would reduce female drink-driving
Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 12/09/13
Educating teen girls on how alcohol is processed differently by women would help reduce female drink driving, recommends a study on the profile of female drink-drivers.
Drug use and fatal motor vehicle crashes
Columbia University, 08/09/13
Drivers who have consumed both drugs and alcohol are more than 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than sober drivers.
Drink drivers are more likely to take additional risks such as speeding
University at Buffalo, 16/08/13
Drink drivers are more likely to take additional risks such as speeding and not wearing seat belts.
Higher rates of first-time drink-drive offences in areas with longer bar opening hours
University of New South Wales, 07/08/13
Higher rates of first-time drink-drive offences are seen in areas with longer bar opening hours.
Study finds some US designated drivers still drink
University of Florida, 21/06/13
A study of US college students leaving bars found 40% of designated drivers had drunk alcohol and 18% had a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher.
Fatal drink-drive crashes dropped 40% following the introduction of harsher penalties
University of Victoria, 14/06/13
Fatal alcohol-related crashes dropped 40% in British Columbia following the introduction of harsher penalties, including immediate licence suspension and mandatory alcohol interlocks.
Intelligent speed adaptation and alcohol interlocks can reduce commercial vehicle crashes
European Transport Safety Council, 17/04/13
European member states should prioritise intelligent speed adaptation and alcohol interlocks to reduce commercial vehicle crashes.
University students most likely to drink-drive overestimate peer approval of drink-driving
Loyola Marymount University, 04/02/13
Among university students, social sub-groups who are most likely to drink-drive are also most likely to overestimate peers’ approval of drink-driving.
Alcohol interlocks and affordable treatment would help reduce recidivist drink driving
Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 31/01/13
Combining alcohol interlocks with affordable treatment for drink drivers would help monitor and reduce recidivist drink-driving in Canada.
Adolescents exposed to drink driving are more likely to drink drive themselves
University of Melbourne, 25/01/13
12-17 year-olds who ride as a passenger with a drink driver are more likely to drink drive themselves as young adults.
Intensive individual coaching for drink-drivers can cause recidivism rates to fall
New Zealand drive SOBA program, 18/12/12
Intensive 14-week individual coaching for drink-drivers can cause recidivism rates to fall from nearly a third to less than one in ten.
Alcohol with diet mixers increases driver impairment compared to sugary mixers
University of Northern Kentucky, 06/12/12
Drinking alcohol with diet mixers increases driver impairment and breath alcohol level compared to sugary mixers.
Analysis of drink drivers in Dorset.
Dorset Council, 02/10/12
79% of drink drivers are male.
Self-reported drink and drug driving: Findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales
Drug users are more than twice as likely to drive under the influence than drinkers.
The association between low alcohol use and traffic risk behaviors among Brazilian college
University of Sao Paulo, 19/09/12
Drinking any amount of alcohol encourages people to risk riding as the passenger of a drink driver.
More research needed following disproportionate increase in women's drink-driving
Social Research Associates, 31/08/12
A disproportional increase in women’s drink-driving means more research needs to be done on alcohol and women’s road safety.
Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 estimates for crashes involving alcohol
Department for Transport, 24/08/12
Annual UK Drink drive deaths increased by 12% in 2011.
Get tough on drink driving say motorists
The majority of drivers want a lower drink-drive limit in the UK.
ACPO Summer drink and drug driving campaign
5.8% of drivers tested for drink driving in the UK in June tested positive, refused or failed a breath test.
Prevalence of Alcohol and Other Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers
Columbia University College of Physicians, 25/07/12
More than half of drivers killed in the USA between 2005 and 2009 had drunk alcohol or taken drugs.
The Home Office, 04/05/12
Roadside breath tests fell by 10% between 2009 and 2010 in the United Kingdom.
ACPO summer drink and drug driving results
Association of Chief Police Officers, 01/08/11
UK drink driving offences by young drivers has increased by 15% from the same period in 2010.
The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration in fatal collisions
University of California San Diego, 20/06/11
Crashes by drivers with a blood alcohol level of just 10mg are 37% more severe than crashes by sober drivers.
The role of parental alcohol consumption on driving under the influence of alcohol
The Institute for Child Health Policy, 19/06/11
Alcohol use by parents predicts drink driving offending.
Reducing the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for driving in developing countries
Alcohol Research Group, 10/06/11
Lowering the Brazilian drink drive limit in 2008 from 60mg to 20mg alcohol/100ml blood has reduced the average monthly rate of road deaths by 7%.
The effects of a modest dose of alcohol on executive functioning and prospective memory
Liverpool John Moores University, 18/05/11
Alcohol can affect executive brain functioning even when the user does not feel any intoxication.
Do alcohol warning labels influence mens and womens attempts to deter others from driving
California Public Health Institute, 18/05/11
Alcohol warning labels may modestly deter self-reported drink driving but are more likely to legitimise attempts by friends to deter a drink-driver.
Do victim impact programs reduce recidivism for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated?
University of Northern Iowa, 18/05/11
Drink drive reoffending was not reduced through meetings between offenders and people who had survived drink drive crashes.
Drink drive breath testing rate low and drivers know it
Nearly a third (31%) of UK drivers think there is less than a one in ten chance of being caught drink driving.
Drug and Alcohol Involvement in Four Types of Fatal Crashes
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 12/04/11
Drugs are present in one in four drivers who die in single vehicle crashes in the United States.
Alcohol interlocks: harmonizing policies and practices
Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 18/04/11
Progress towards more widespread use of alcolocks internationally can be aided by consistent terminology and data reporting between different countries.
Traffic Law Enforcement across the EU: Tackling the Three Main Killers on Europe's Roads
Yearly compliance targets for speeding, drink driving and seat belt use are vital for tackling these three main killers on Europe's roads.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Associated with Alcohol: Child Passenger Injury and Restraint Use
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28/02/11
Child passenger injuries are more than twice as likely to occur in drink driving crashes than non-alcohol-related crashes.
Speeding, long way to the top of socially unacceptable behaviours
Accident Transport Commission, 11/02/11
Drink driving is regarded as more socially unacceptable in Australia than having an affair or male violence towards women.
Alcohol, psychoactive drugs and fatal road traffic accidents in Norway
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 28/01/11
Drivers who drink alcohol or mix alcohol with a mind altering drug, are more at risk of a fatal crash than drivers who take a mixture of psychoactive drugs and drive.
Toward a National Model for Managing Impaired Driving Offenders
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 14/01/11
Abstinence programmes that tackle drink and drug driving recidivism by monitoring consumption, is effective even in dependent users.
Direct Line Report on Safe Driving 2009 - 2011 PART TWO Fit to drive?
Brake and Direct Line, 14/12/10
Almost four in 10 UK drivers are risking lives by driving first thing after drinking excessively the night before.
Unraveling the complexity of driving while intoxicated
Queensland University of Technology, 10/11/10
Drink and drug drivers are more likely to have psychiatric disorders that lead to repeat offending unless addressed immediately following arrest.
Automatically Activated Attitudes as Mechanisms for Message Effects
The Ohio State University, 22/10/10
Alcohol advertisements can increase willingness to drink drive through increasing positive attitudes towards alcohol.
Turning 21 and the Associated Changes in Drinking and Driving After Drinking Among College
The University of Texas at Austin, 16/08/10
Drink driving increases at the legal drinking age despite the amount of alcohol consumed decreasing.
Road Safety Analytical Report
The European Commission, 30/07/10
94% of EU citizens believe drink driving is a major problem and 78% think speeding is.
A Qualitative Study of Drinking and Driving: Report of Findings
Department for Transport, 30/07/10
Drink-drivers display double standards when comparing their own drink driving with other drink drivers.
RAC Report on Motoring 2010 – The Driver’s Perspective
Drunk or drugged drivers, mobile phone usage and uninsured drivers are a big concern on the roads for over 95% of drivers.
British men are more than twice as likely to have a drink drive conviction as women.
Strong support for action on drink driving
The Scottish Government, 24/01/10
Four in five Scots want the drink drive limit cut from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml of blood.
Evaluation of a roadside impairment test device using alcohol
Home Office Scientific Development Branch, UK, 11/05/09
Roadside impairment testing apparatus (RITA) is more accurate than field impairment tests (FIT).
Identifying social mechanisms for the prevention of adolescent drinking and driving
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 19/09/07
Parental influence to deter drink driving remains important even through late adolescence.
A comparison of crash involvement of unlicensed motorcycle riders and unlicensed drivers
Queensland University of Technology, 16/11/06
In terms of contributing factors, serious crashes involving unlicensed drivers and riders both showed an increased involvement of alcohol or drugs, speeding, inexperience and inattention.