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Impact of Retail Beverage Service Training and Social Host Laws on Adolescents DUI Rates in San Diego County, California

NCJ Number
Traffic Injury Prevention Volume: 19 Issue: 2 Dated: 2018 Pages: 111-117
Michael Scherer; Eduardo Romano; Susan Caldwell; Eileen Taylor
Date Published
7 pages
This study assessed the impact of measures subject to county control to determine the most effective points of intervention for communities in reducing underage DUI citations.
Driving under the influence (DUI) citations are still a serious concern among drivers aged 16-20 years old and have been shown to be related to increased risk of fatal and nonfatal crashes. A battery of laws and policies has been enacted to address this concern. Although numerous studies have evaluated these policies, there is still a need for comprehensive policy evaluations that consider a variety of contextual factors. Previous efforts by the current research team examined the impact of 20 minimum legal drinking age-21 laws in the state of California, as they impacted alcohol-related crash rates among drivers under 21 years of age, while at the same time accounting for alcohol and gas taxes, unemployment rates, sex distribution among drivers, and sobriety checkpoints. The current research expanded the evaluation to the county level (San Diego County). Among the county interventions considered were retail beverage service (RBS) laws and social host (SH) laws, as well as media coverage, city employment, alcohol outlet density, number of sworn officers, alcohol consumption, and taxation policies. Annual DUI citation data (2000 to 2013), RBS and SH policies, and city-wide demographic, economic, and environmental information were collected and applied to each of the 20 cities in San Diego County, California. A structural equation model was fit to estimate the relative contribution of the variables of interest to DUI citation rates. Alcohol consumption and alcohol outlet density both demonstrated a significant increase in DUI rates; whereas, RBS laws, SH laws, alcohol tax rates, media clusters, gas tax rates, and unemployment rates demonstrated significant decreases in DUI rates. Thus, at the county level, although RBS laws, SH laws, and media efforts were found to contribute to a significant reduction in DUI rates, the largest significant contributors to reducing DUI rates were alcohol and gas taxation rates. Policymakers interested in reducing DUI rates among teenagers should examine these variables within their specific communities and consider conducting community-specific research to determine the best way to do so. Future efforts should be made to develop models that represent specific communities that are interested in reducing DUI rates among drivers aged 16-20 years. (publisher abstract modified)