A critical analysis of the collection and public reporting of data on drinking drivers



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Purpose: The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, to present a report published by a policing agency and some possible conclusions that could be drawn from this report. Second, and more important, to demonstrate why descriptive statistics alone present a major problem in an endeavor to answer the question of how alcohol is involved in traffic crashes. Most importantly, it will show the need for some different types of analysis of the data collected in order to more accurately and dramatically illustrate the full impact of the drinking and driving problem. Methodology: The methodology used in this study was to present a set of statistical data gathered by a law enforcement agency and their report, using this data, that purported to depict some of the drinking-driver problems. The statistical data was then presented in a different form and critically analyzed to point out conclusions and misconceptions that could be reached due to the incompleteness of the data. Findings: 1. For each of the eight variables considered with the blood alcohol level of drinking drivers, a very large majority had a BAL equal to or greater than he presumptive level of intoxication. 2. Males were greatly over-represented in the drinking drivers suspected of DWI and administered a blood-alcohol test. 3. Most of the drinking drivers suspected of DWI and administered a blood-alcohol test were, what is thought by many to be, middle-aged (ages 25-54). 4. A small number of drivers involved in traffic crashes were given a BAL test. 5. The evening hours from 9:00 P.M. until 2:59 A.M. had over one-half the BAL test administered. 6. Over one-half the BAL tests were administered on Saturday and Sunday. Recommendations: 1. Legislation be enacted to support, permit, and/or require research to be made to determine extent and the degree of alcohol involvement in traffic crashes. 2. Mandatory participation in treatment programs by alcoholics who rink and drive. 3. Improve the adjudication process and the corrections process to place emphasis on the concept that drunk driving is not approved behavior. 4. Minor changes be made in the data collection procedure in order to gather additional pertinent data on drinking drivers. 5. Fuller use be made of available information to initiate programs to combat the drinking-driver problem. 6. Academics, medical personnel, police and other persons, with expertise to contribute, work together to design programs to study the extent and degree of the drinking-driver problem. 7. Countermeasure programs be constructed from the findings and proposed solutions set out in the preceding recommendation.



Drinking and traffic accidents, alcohol in traffic accidents, recommendation for those driving drunk