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Long-Term Follow-Up of a High School Misuse Prevention Program's Effect on Students' Subsequent Driving

NCJ Number
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: 2006 Pages: 403-10
Date Published
8 pages

The authors report on an examination of school-based alcohol prevention programs in terms of driving outcomes, the Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study; they provide an overview of their research methodology and outcomes, and discuss the implications of their research.


The authors report on research that examined the effects on subsequent driving of a high school-based alcohol prevention program. The study included a randomized test of the effectiveness of an alcohol misuse prevention curriculum conducted among 4635 tenth-grade students. Students were assigned to intervention or control groups and were followed for an average of 7.6 years after licensure, which typically occurred during or shortly after tenth grade. Outcomes examined included alcohol-related and other serious offenses, and at-fault, single-vehicle, and alcohol-related crashes. Results indicated that only serious offenses (including alcohol-related offenses) had a significant treatment effect (statistically marginal) after the authors adjusted for sex, age, race, alcohol use/misuse, family structure, presence of pre-license offenses, age of driver licensure, and parental attitudes toward teen drinking. The effect was found only during the first year of licensure. Two first-year serious offense interactions were found. The positive effect was strongest among the largest subgroup of students, those who were drinking less than one drink per week on average before the curriculum, compared with those who drank more than one drink per week. The effect was also stronger for the small subgroup of students whose parents had not expressed disapproval of teens’ drinking, compared with those whose parents had disapproved. The authors conclude that a high school-based alcohol prevention program can positively affect subsequent driving, particularly that of students who do not use alcohol regularly. The results highlight the need to start prevention efforts early and extend them beyond the initial exposure to driving. Programs should incorporate the differing backgrounds of the students. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2001