U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

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: 2001 Pages: 403-410
Jean T. Shope; Michael R. Elliott; Trivellore E. Raghunathan; Patricia F. Walker
Date Published
8 pages

This study examined the effects on subsequent driving of a high school‐based alcohol prevention program.


Alcohol‐related injuries, particularly those involving motor-vehicle crashes, are an important cause of adolescent mortality. School‐based alcohol prevention programs have not been evaluated in terms of driving outcomes. The Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study, which was the focus of the current evaluation, included a randomized test of the effectiveness of an alcohol-misuse prevention curriculum conducted among 4,635 10th‐grade students. Students were assigned to intervention (n= 1,820) or control (n= 2,815) groups and were followed for an average of 7.6 years after driving licensure, which typically occurred during or shortly after 10th grade. Outcomes examined included alcohol‐related and other serious offenses, and at‐fault, single‐vehicle, and alcohol‐related crashes. Only serious offenses, which included alcohol‐related offenses, had a significant treatment effect (statistically marginal) after adjustment 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 (estimated adjusted relative risk = 0.80, confidence interval = 0.63–1.01). 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 (p= 0.009). 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 (p= 0.004). These findings suggest 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 consider the differing backgrounds of the students. (publisher abstract modified)