The alcohol ignition interlock is an in-vehicle DWI control device that prevents a car from starting until the operator provides a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test below a set level, usually .02% (20 mg/dl) to .04% (40 mg/dl). The first interlock program was begun as a pilot test in California 18 years ago; today all but a few US states, and Canadian provinces have interlock enabling legislation. Sweden has recently implemented a nationwide interlock program. Other nations of the European Union and as well as several Australian states are testing it on a small scale or through pilot research. This article describes the interlock device and reviews the development and current status of interlock programs including their public safety benefit and the public practice impediments to more widespread adoption of these DWI control devices. Included in this review are (1) a discussion of the technological breakthroughs and certification standards that gave rise to the design features of equipment that is in widespread use today; (2) a commentary on the growing level of adoption of interlocks by governments despite the judicial and legislative practices that prevent more widespread use of them; (3) a brief overview of the extant literature documenting a high degree of interlock efficacy while installed, and the rapid loss of their preventative effect on repeat DWI once they are removed from the vehicles; (4) a discussion of the representativeness of subjects in the current research studies; (5) a discussion of research innovations, including motivational intervention efforts that may extend the controlling effect of the interlock, and data mining research that has uncovered ways to use the stored interlock data record of BAC tests in order to predict high risk drivers; and (6) a discussion of communication barriers and conceptual rigidities that may be preventing the alcohol ignition interlock from taking a more prominent role in the arsenal of tools used to control DWI. Whether interlock programs can help public policymakers achieve their expressed goals of substantially reducing the level of impaired driving will remain uncertain until procedural barriers and intransigent judiciary practices can be overcome that provide for more systematic routine use of interlock programs. Despite strong effectiveness evidence in all studies to date, the real potential of this technology to reduce the road toll cannot be estimated until they are more widely adopted.
OBJECTIVE: This research studied the effects of a community alcohol prevention program on violent crimes. Starting in 1996, a 10-year multicomponent program based on community mobilization, training in responsible beverage service for servers and stricter enforcement of existing alcohol laws has been conducted in Stockholm, Sweden. The project has been led by an action group consisting of members from the hospitality industry and the authorities. METHOD: We used a time-series quasi-experimental design that included a control area. Data on police-reported violence during the period of January 1994 to September 2000 were analyzed through ARIMA modeling. RESULTS: During the intervention period, violent crimes decreased significantly by 29% in the intervention area, controlled for the development in the control area. CONCLUSIONS: The intervention seems to have been successful in reducing violent crimes. This effect is most likely due to a combination of various policy changes initiated by the project. The findings support the notion that community action projects working on a local basis can be effective in decreasing alcohol-related problems at licensed premises.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of Winnipeg's photo enforcement safety program on speeding, i.e., "speed on green", and red-light running behavior at intersections as well as on crashes resulting from these behaviors. ARIMA time series analyses regarding crashes related to red-light running (right-angle crashes and rear-end crashes) and crashes related to speeding (injury crashes and property damage only crashes) occurring at intersections were conducted using monthly crash counts from 1994 to 2008. A quasi-experimental intersection camera experiment was also conducted using roadside data on speeding and red-light running behavior at intersections. These data were analyzed using logistic regression analysis. The time series analyses showed that for crashes related to red-light running, there had been a 46% decrease in right-angle crashes at camera intersections, but that there had also been an initial 42% increase in rear-end crashes. For crashes related to speeding, analyses revealed that the installation of cameras was not associated with increases or decreases in crashes. Results of the intersection camera experiment show that there were significantly fewer red light running violations at intersections after installation of cameras and that photo enforcement had a protective effect on speeding behavior at intersections. However, the data also suggest photo enforcement may be less effective in preventing serious speeding violations at intersections. Overall, Winnipeg's photo enforcement safety program had a positive net effect on traffic safety. Results from both the ARIMA time series and the quasi-experimental design corroborate one another. However, the protective effect of photo enforcement is not equally pronounced across different conditions so further monitoring is required to improve the delivery of this measure. Results from this study as well as limitations are discussed.
This paper assesses the efficiency of priorities for traffic law enforcement in Norway. Priorities are regarded as efficient if: (1) enforcement ensures a sufficient level of deterrence to keep down the rate of violations; (2) selection of target violations for enforcement is based on the risk attributable to them; and (3) an optimal level of enforcement is selected, i.e. the marginal benefits of enforcement in terms of preventing accidents equal the marginal costs of enforcement. The efficiency of current traffic law enforcement in Norway is assessed in terms of these criteria. It is found that the risk of apprehension varies considerably between different traffic violations. These variations do not reflect the risk attributable to the violations, i.e. it is not the case that the risk of apprehension is higher for violations that make a large contribution to fatalities and injuries than for violations that make a smaller contribution. In principle, shifting priorities so as to increase the risk of apprehension for some violations and reduce it for other violations could make police enforcement slightly more efficient. The main finding, however, is that the current level of enforcement is too low. Cost-benefit analyses show that substantially increasing the amount of police enforcement is cost-effective.
Alcohol causes a considerable criminal burden on the Canadian society. The purpose of this study is to estimate the avoidable burden and avoidable costs of alcohol-attributable criminality in Canada for the year 2002.
The impact of the following six alcohol policy interventions relative to baseline costs obtained from the Second Canadian Cost Study (a cost-of-illness study) were modelled: taxation increases, lowering the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limit from 0.08% to 0.05%, zero BAC restriction for all drivers under the age of 21, increasing the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from 19 to 21 years, a Safer Bars intervention, and brief interventions. In addition to the six interventions that reduce alcohol consumption, we also modelled one intervention that could increase alcohol consumption and alcohol-attributable costs: the change from a government monopoly to privatized alcohol sales. The effect of these interventions was modelled for the Canadian population older than 15 years of age with the exception of BAC restriction and MLDA, which were modelled for the age group 19-21.
Results revealed that the intervention which appears to be most effective in preventing drinking and driving incidents in Canada was lowering the BAC level. This intervention was estimated to reduce this type of alcohol-attributable crime compared with the baseline scenario by 19.1%. The Safer Bars programme was found to be the most effective measure to avoid homicide and other violent crimes (reductions of 3.4% were observed). Brief interventions were observed as the most effective measure to avoid other alcohol-attributable criminal activities, estimated at reducing them by 2.6%. The results also indicated that substantial increases in all types of criminality examined in this study could occur if all Canadian provinces were to privatize alcohol sales.
This study demonstrates that the implementation of proven effective population-based interventions can reduce alcohol-attributable criminal burden and its costs to the Canadian society to a considerable degree.