This study provides information on the legal and social forces that influence change in control of alcohol-impaired driving.
The study compared attitudes, perceptions and behaviors concerning drinking and driving for California drivers in 1994 (n=608) to similar information collected from California drivers in 1983 and 1986 (n=291) through random-digit-dialing telephone interviews. Self-reported drinking-driving violations showed a substantial decline, paralleling the well-documented drop in alcohol-related traffic crashes during this time span. All age groups, men and women, both heavy drinkers and light drinkers, reported a large reduction in drinking before driving. Subjects also displayed: greater knowledge of drinking-driving laws and trends toward an increased expectation that violations would be followed by unpleasant consequences; heightened perceptions that friends and relatives were likely to disapprove of driving after drinking; more awareness of control of drinking by drivers at occasions where alcohol is served; and increase in the view that it is morally wrong to drive after heavy drinking. Tables, references