Q&A: Alcohol — deterrence and enforcement
- 1 What is the goal of alcohol-impaired driving laws?
State laws making it illegal to drive with high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) serve as the cornerstone of all efforts to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Many people think the principal goal of such laws is to arrest and punish the drivers who put everyone else at risk. But the more important objective is for the law to be a deterrent so that police find no alcohol-impaired drivers to arrest. This is commonly referred to as "general deterrence" because it targets and influences the general public. "Specific deterrence" refers to measures that seek to prevent individuals who have already committed an offense from re-offending.
- 2 Why is deterrence so important and how can it be achieved?
Most impaired drivers are never stopped. Others are stopped, but police may miss signs of impairment. In studies based on telephone surveys and official arrest records, estimates of the chance of arrest when driving impaired range from small (about 1 in 50) to miniscule (1 in 480). Hedlund, J.H. and McCartt, A.T. 2002. Drunk driving: seeking additional solutions. Washington, DC: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Zador, P.; Krawchuck, S.; and Moore, B. 2001. Drinking and driving trips, stops by police, and arrests: analyses of the 1995 national survey of drinking and driving attitudes and behavior. Report no. DOT HS-809-184. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dowling, A.M.; MacDonald, R.; and Carpenter, K.H. 2011. Frequency of alcohol-impaired driving in New York State. Accident Analysis and Prevention 12(2):120-7. Quinlan, K.P.; Brewer, R.D.; Siegel, P.; Sleet, D.A.; Mokdad, A.H.; Shults, R.A.; and Flowers, N. 2005. Alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults: 1993-2002. American Journal of Preventive Medecine 28:346-50. Researchers in two cities combined arrest data with information on driver BACs gathered in roadside surveys, finding that the risk of arrest for a driver with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher was between 1 and 6 in 1,000. Beitel, G.A.; Sharp, M.C.; and Glauz, W.D. 2000. Probability of arrest while driving under the influence of alcohol. Injury Prevention 6(2):158-61. Hause, J.M.; Voas, R.B.; and Chavez, E. 1982. Conducting voluntary roadside surveys: the Stockton experience. In M.R. Valverius (Ed.), Proceedings of the Satellite Conference to the 8th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety, June 23-25, 1980, Umea, Sweden (pp. 104-113). Stockholm: The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs.
Because the police cannot catch all offenders, the success of alcohol-impaired driving laws depends on deterring potential offenders by creating the public perception that apprehension and punishment is likely. Research has shown that the perceived likelihood of apprehension is more important in deterring offenders than the severity of punishment. The key to creating this perception is sustained and well publicized enforcement.
- 3 How do laws define alcohol-impaired driving?
Research establishing the relationship between BACs and impairment of driving skills made it possible to define alcohol-impaired driving offenses in terms of a BAC above a specific threshold. All states and the District of Columbia have per se laws making it illegal to drive with a BAC above a proscribed limit.
If a police officer considers someone to be driving in a way that suggests impairment and that person exhibits signs of impairment after being stopped, the officer may charge the driver with alcohol-impaired driving even if the person's BAC does not exceed the legal threshold or the person refuses an alcohol test.
- 4 What does blood alcohol concentration measure?
A BAC is the amount of alcohol in a person's blood, expressed as weight of alcohol per unit of volume of blood. For example, 0.08 percent BAC indicates 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. For most legal purposes, however, a blood sample is not necessary to determine a person's BAC. It can be measured more simply by analyzing exhaled breath.
- 5 What is the BAC threshold for per se laws in the United States?
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws defining the illegal BAC threshold as 0.08 percent. In all 50 states, drivers younger than 21 are prohibited from operating a vehicle with any detectable blood alcohol. Most states define this as a BAC at or above 0.02 percent; others specify BACs lower than 0.02 percent.
A review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of research on the effects of lowering per se BAC thresholds from 0.10 to 0.08 percent found a median decrease of 7 percent in alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities. Shults, R.A.; Elder, R.W.; Sleet, D.A.; Nichols, J.L.; and Alao, M.O. 2001. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 21:66-88.
The BAC threshold is lower in many other countries, ranging from 0.08 percent in the United Kingdom to 0.05 percent in Australia and 0.02 percent in Sweden. Almost all of the 27 European Union members states have BAC thresholds of 0.05 percent or lower. European Transport Safety Council. 2008. ETSC Fact Sheet: Drink driving fact sheet. ETSC Fact Sheet. Brussels, Belgium.
- 6 Who can be stopped for alcohol-impaired driving?
Anyone driving erratically can be stopped on suspicion of impaired driving. Typical signs of impairment are weaving, inability to maintain a consistent speed, making overly wide turns and stopping too close to or too far from traffic signs or signals. Impaired drivers are also found during stops for traffic offenses like speeding or signal violations.
- 7 When can a driver be tested for alcohol?
In the United States, police cannot stop an individual driver without first having a reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed an offense. If after stopping a driver, an officer determines that the driver may be impaired, the officer initiates an investigation that includes asking the driver to perform standard field sobriety tests (e.g., one leg stand, walk and turn). Police can request a preliminary breath test using a hand-held device. These results are inadmissible in court, but are helpful in an officer’s evaluation. If the officer decides a driver is impaired, the driver is arrested. After arrest, the driver is asked to submit to a BAC test that is admissible in court. Refusal results in license suspension or revocation.
Other countries have different laws for testing drivers for alcohol. For example, in Australia police officers are allowed to administer a breath test to any driver, regardless of whether or not an officer has reason to believe the person has been drinking.
- 8 What happens if a driver refuses to be tested? How often does this happen, and what are the consequences?
Drivers can refuse the alcohol test, but refusal will result in license revocation or suspension. This is provided under implied consent laws that establish that by driving in the state a person consents to alcohol testing. The law requires that test samples be taken shortly after arrest, typically within two hours. This is because BACs fall as alcohol is metabolized. Judicial warrants can be used to compel drivers to submit to tests. Some jurisdictions are using recent improvements in communications technology (e.g., emailing or texting) to expedite the warrant process, so that a warrant can be issued and a blood sample taken within the statutory time limit.
Refusal rates vary greatly from state to state. An analysis of data on alcohol-impaired driving arrests in 2005 from 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia found that breath test refusal rates ranged from 1 percent in Puerto Rico and 2 percent in Delaware to 81 percent in New Hampshire. Berning, A.; Beirness, D.; Hedlund, J.; and Jones, R. 2007. Traffic safety facts: breath test refusals. Report no. DOT HS-810-871. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The weighted mean of the refusal rates, based on state population, was 21 percent, similar to the estimated mean rate in 1987 and in 2001.
The penalties for refusal vary by state. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2008. Blood alcohol concentration test refusal laws. Report no. DOT HS-810-884W. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation. More than 40 states and the District of Columbia impose some form of administrative, pre-conviction license suspension or revocation. Some states have criminal sanctions for refusals.
- 9 What are sobriety checkpoints and which states conduct them?
Where permitted, police can use checkpoints to stop drivers at specified locations to identify impaired drivers. All drivers, or a predetermined proportion of them, are stopped based on rules that prevent police from arbitrarily selecting drivers to stop. The checkpoint stop must be brief, and it must be done following strict guidelines to ensure there is no discriminatory stopping of some people and not others. The standard for administering a breath test is the same for checkpoints as for individual stops.
Checkpoints are a highly visible enforcement method intended to deter potential offenders, as well as to catch violators.
Sobriety checkpoints are prohibited by state constitution or statute in 10 states (Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming). In a 2002 Institute survey, 37 states and the District of Columbia reported conducting checkpoints. Thirteen reported not conducting them because of legal or policy reasons. Fell, J.C.; Ferguson, S.A.; Williams, A.F.; and Fields, M. 2002. Why are sobriety checkpoints not widely adopted as an enforcement strategy in the United States? Accident Analysis and Prevention 35(6):897-902. Only 11 states reported conducting checkpoints as often as once a week.
- 10 Are sobriety checkpoints effective?
Yes. If checkpoints are set up frequently over long enough periods and are well publicized, they can establish a belief in people's minds that impaired drivers will be apprehended. This belief is essential to general deterence.
Sobriety checkpoints have been criticized for producing fewer arrests per man-hour than dedicated patrols, but focusing on the number of arrests is a misleading way to assess the value of checkpoints. The primary purpose of frequent checkpoints is to increase public awareness and deter potential offenders. For example, in the Australian state of Victoria, which has had an extensive roadside breath testing program for many years, only 1 in 555 drivers stopped in 1993 tested positive for alcohol to the point of breaking the law. Cameron, M.; Diamantopoulou, K.; Mullan, N.; Dyte, D.; and Gantzer, S. 1997. Evaluation of the country random breath testing and publicity program in Victoria, 1993-1994. Report no. 126. Victoria, Australia: Monash University Accident Research Centre. In 1978, before the roadside breath testing program, the ratio was 1 positive to 45 negatives.
A 1984 Institute study in two neighboring jurisdictions demonstrated how checkpoints can change public perceptions. Williams, A.F. and Lund, A.K. 1984. Deterrent effects of roadblocks on drinking and driving. Traffic Safety Evaluation Research Review 3:7-18. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fairfax County, Va., had a long history of vigorous enforcement of alcohol-impaired driving laws and used unpublicized drinking-driver patrols to achieve relatively high arrest rates. Nearby Montgomery County, Md., had historically lower arrest rates but used well-publicized sobriety checkpoints during the study period. Surveys of licensed drivers revealed that public awareness of enforcement programs was far greater in Montgomery County than in Fairfax County. Respondents in both counties incorrectly believed the probability of arrest was higher in Montgomery County, where checkpoints were conducted.
These changed perceptions can lead to reduced alcohol-impaired driving and fewer crashes. In 1988, the Institute and the city of Binghamton, N.Y., implemented an integrated enforcement program that emphasized the publicized use of sobriety and safety belt checkpoints. During the program's first two years, the number of drivers stopped who had been drinking decreased about 40 percent. Late-night crashes decreased 21 percent while checkpoints were in place, and injury-producing nighttime crashes declined 16 percent. Wells, J.K.; Preusser, D.F.; and Williams, A.F. 1992. Enforcing alcohol-impaired driving and seat belt use laws, Binghamton, New York. Journal of Safety Research 23:63-71. In 1995, North Carolina implemented a statewide intensive three-week publicized enforcement campaign focusing on alcohol-impaired driving, including statewide checkpoints and roving saturation patrols. Drivers on the road with BACs at or above 0.08 percent declined from 198 per 10,000 before the program to 90 per 10,000 after. Williams, A.F.; Wells, J.K.; and Foss, R.D. 1995. The North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Initiative: initial results from "Booze It and Lose It." Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic Safety, 1:347-51. Adelaide, Australia: NHMRC Road Accident Research Unit, University of Adelaide.
In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed studies evaluating sobriety checkpoint programs. The median decline in crashes thought to involve alcohol was about 20 percent. Elder, R.W.; Schults, R.A.; Sleet, D.A.; Nichols, J.L.; Zaza, S.; and Thompson, R.A. 2002. Effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints for reducing alcohol-involved crashes. Traffic Injury Prevention 3(4):266-74. An update in 2012 examined 10 additional studies, finding a median relative percentage decrease in alcohol-involved fatal crashes of about 9 percent. Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: publicized sobriety checkpoint programs: task force finding and rational statement. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed at: http://www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/RRsobrietyckpts.html. A 2009 meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that aggregates the results of multiple studies) found sobriety checkpoints reduced crashes involving alcohol by 17 percent or more and all crashes by about 10-15 percent. Erke, A; Goldenbeld, C.; and Vaa, T. 2009. The effects of drink-driving checkpoints on crashes — a meta-analysis. Accident Analysis and Prevention 41(5):914-23.
- 11 Are sobriety checkpoints constitutional?
The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1990 that properly conducted sobriety checkpoints are legal under the Constitution. Most state courts that have addressed the issue have upheld checkpoints, too, but some have interpreted state law to prohibit checkpoints. Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 US 444 (1990).
- 12 If sobriety checkpoints are so effective, why aren't they more widely used?
Sobriety checkpoints are prohibited in 10 states. When surveyed by the Institute about their use of checkpoints, states who used them infrequently pointed to a lack of funding and police resources, preferred saturation patrols over checkpoints, and used large numbers of police officers at checkpoints. Fell, J.C.; Ferguson, S.A.; Williams, A.F.; and Fields, M. 2002. Why are sobriety checkpoints not widely adopted as an enforcement strategy in the United States? Accident Analysis and Prevention 35(6):897-902. Police departments believe a large number of officers are required, placing checkpoints beyond the resources of small police agencies and draining the personnel and financial resources of larger agencies. However, small-scale checkpoints with as few as 3-5 officers can be conducted successfully and safely Lacey, J.H.; Ferguson, S.A.; Kelley-Baker, T.; and Rider, R.P. 2006. Low-manpower checkpoints: can they provide effective DUI enforcement for small communities? Traffic Injury Prevention 7(3):213-8. Stuster, J.W. and Blowers, M.A. 1995. Experimental evaluation of sobriety checkpoint points. Report no. DOT HS-806-989. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. and can be effective in reducing alcohol-impaired driving Lacey, J.H.; Ferguson, S.A.; Kelley-Baker, T.; and Rider, R.P. 2006. Low-manpower checkpoints: can they provide effective DUI enforcement for small communities? Traffic Injury Prevention 7(3):213-8. and alcohol-related crashes. Stuster, J.W. and Blowers, M.A. 1995. Experimental evaluation of sobriety checkpoint points. Report no. DOT HS-806-989. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal government encourages states to do frequent, low-manpower checkpoints with 3-5 officers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2006. Low-staffing sobriety checkpoints. Report no. DOT HS-810-590. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation.
- 13 What types of enforcement other than sobriety checkpoints are effective?
Measured in arrests per man-hour, dedicated police patrols are an effective method of apprehending offenders. Officers experienced in alcohol-impaired driving enforcement are assigned to patrols dedicated exclusively to finding alcohol-impaired drivers. Absent an emergency, they are relieved of other patrol duties. Especially where sobriety checkpoints cannot be conducted, roving dedicated patrols may serve as general deterence if their activities are publicized and become widely known. Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz, 496 US 444 (1990).
The federal government cites saturation patrols as an effective enforcement strategy. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2009. Saturation patrols & sobriety checkpoints guide. Report no. DOT HS-809-063. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation. Saturation patrols target a specific area to identify and arrest impaired drivers, often combining the efforts of multiple agencies to concentrate their resources.
- 14 How can passive alcohol sensors aid in enforcement?
Many people can effectively mask the overt behavioral symptoms of alcohol impairment for short periods, but it is much more difficult to hide the evidence of impairment from a passive alcohol sensor, which identifies alcohol in the exhaled breath near a driver's mouth. Passive alcohol sensors are screening devices that help an officer detect possible impaired drivers for further testing. The sensors are not intrusive and therefore do not violate constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure. In a 1993 Institute study of sobriety checkpoints in Fairfax County, Va., police officers using sensors were able to detect more offenders compared with officers who did not use sensors. Ferguson, S.A.; Wells, J.K.; and Lund, A.K. 1995. The role of passive alcohol sensors in detecting alcohol-impaired drivers at sobriety checkpoints. Alcohol, Drugs, and Driving 11(1):23-30. Police without sensors detected 55 percent of drivers whose BACs were at or above 0.10 percent. With sensors, police successfully detected 71 percent of the drivers with BACs at or above 0.10 percent. Results of the Fairfax study parallel previous Institute evaluations. In a checkpoint program in Charlottesville, VA., use of a passive alcohol sensor by officers increased arrests by almost a factor of three. Voas, R.B. 2008. A new look at NHTSA's evaluation of the 1984 Charlottesville sobriety checkpoint program: implications for current checkpoint issues. Traffic Injury Prevention 9(1):22-30.
- 15 Is license suspension an effective sanction?
Laws providing for the suspension or revocation of licenses have been shown to reduce the subsequent crash involvement of drivers convicted of alcohol offenses. Williams, A.F.; Weinberg, K.; and Fields, M. 1991. The effectiveness of administrative license suspension laws. Alcohol, Drugs, and Driving 7:55-62. Zador, P.L.; Lund, A.K.; Fields, M.; and Weinberg, K. 1989. Fatal crash involvement and laws against alcohol-impaired driving. Journal of Public Health Policy 10:467-85. Peck, R.C.; Sadler, D.D.; and Perrine, M.W. 1985. The comparative effectiveness of alcohol rehabilitation and licensing control actions for drunk driving offenders: a review of the literature. Alcohol, Drugs and Driving; Abstracts and Reviews 1(4):15-39. Even after the suspension, the effects last. Although many suspended drivers continue to drive, McCartt, A.T.; Geary, L.L.; and Berning, A. 2003. Observational study of the extent of driving while suspended for alcohol impaired driving. Injury Prevention 9(2):133-7. they tend to drive less. License suspension also has led to a general reduction in fatal crashes in states where the threat of this sanction has been made more certain through laws that provide for administrative license suspension.
- 16 What are alcohol ignition interlocks? Do they have a role in deterrence?
An alcohol ignition interlock has a breath-testing unit that is connected to a vehicle's ignition. In order to start the vehicle, the driver must blow into the device and register a blood alcohol reading that is below a predetermined level. If the blood alcohol reading exceeds this level, the interlock prevents the vehicle from starting. An estimated 279,000 interlocks were in use in 2012 in the United States. Roth, R. 2012. 2012 survey of currently installed interlocks in the U.S. Available:http://www.rothinterlock.org/2012surveyofcurrentlyinstalledinterlocksintheus.pdf.
Studies have shown that alcohol ignition interlocks are effective in reducing recidivism. In a 1999 Institute study, multiple offenders eligible for license reinstatement were randomly assigned interlock-restricted licenses or unrestricted licenses coupled with the conventional post licensing treatment program. The interlock restriction reduced the risk of committing an alcohol-related traffic violation within the first year following conviction by 64 percent. Beck, K.H.; Rauch, W.J.; Baker, E.A.; and Williams, A.F. 1999. Effects of ignition interlock license restrictions on drivers with multiple alcohol offenses: a randomized trial in Maryland. American Journal of Public Health 89:1696-1700. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of ignition interlock programs found the programs seemed to reduce recidivism while the devices were installed in offenders' vehicles, but found no evidence for any effectiveness once the devices were removed. Willis, C.; Lybrand, S.; and Bellamy, N. 2004. Alcohol ignition interlock programmes for reducing drink driving recidivism. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 4. Art. no.: CD004168. Oxfordshire, England: The Chochrane Collaboration.
In 19 states and four California counties, all alcohol-impaired driving offenders, including first-time offenders, must install interlocks to resume driving. An additional 12 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) require interlocks for offenders with high BACs (usually 0.15 percent or higher) and for repeat offenders, ten states require them only for repeat offenders, and two states only for high-BAC offenders. Seven states and D.C. have no mandatory interlock requirements.
An Institute study showed that mandatory interlock laws for all offenders are effective. McCartt, A.T.; Leaf, W.A.; Farmer, C.M.; and Eichelberger, A.H. 2013. Washington state’s alcohol ignition interlock law: effects on recidivism among first-time DUI offenders. Traffic Injury Prevention 14(3):215-29. Researchers looked at what happened in Washington when the state expanded its interlock requirement in 2004 to cover everyone convicted of DUI, not just those with multiple offenses or high BACs. They found the recidivism rate fell 12 percent for first-time offenders with BACs under 0.15 percent. The law change was associated with an 8.3 percent reduction in single-vehicle late-night crash risk, suggesting a general deterrent effect of the expanded interlock requirement.
However, even when laws require offenders to have interlocks if they drive, many people don’t go through with the installation. In the Washington study, only about a third of the first-time offenders with BACs under 0.15 percent obtained interlocks. (If all of them had, their recidivism rate would have fallen by nearly half.) McCartt, A.T.; Leaf, W.A.; Farmer, C.M.; and Eichelberger, A.H. 2013. Washington state’s alcohol ignition interlock law: effects on recidivism among first-time DUI offenders. Traffic Injury Prevention 14(3):215-29. Some offenders may sidestep an interlock installation requirement by agreeing not to drive at all or claiming not to have a vehicle. In a pilot program in Santa Fe County, N. M., when judges imposed house arrest via electronic monitoring as the alternative to an interlock, 70 percent of offenders installed interlocks, compared with only 17 percent in the other counties. When the program ended, the Santa Fe installation rate declined. Roth, R.; Marques, P.R.; Voas, R.B. 2009. A note on the effectiveness of the house-arrest alternative for motivating DWI offenders to install ignition interlocks. Journal of Safety Research 40: 437-41.
- 17 Are treatment and rehabilitation programs effective?
Although studies have had mixed results, research has shown that treatment and rehabilitation programs may have a small, positive effect on the subsequent behavior of alcohol-impaired driving offenders. Several evaluations of 35 alcohol treatment programs (Alcohol Safety Action Projects) implemented in the 1970s found lower reoffense rates for first offenders but not with repeat offenders, and no effect on crash rates. Nichols, J.L. 1990. Treatment versus deterrence. Alcohol Health and Research World 14:44-51. A 1995 examination of more than 200 studies of the effects of various treatment and rehabilitation programs found a reduction of 7-9 percent, on average, in subsequent alcohol-impaired driving events, including repeat offenses and crashes. Wells-Parker, E.; Bangert-Drowns, R.; McMillen, R.; and Williams, M. 1995. Final results from a meta-analysis of remedial interventions with drink/drive offenders. Addiction 90(7):907-26. A 1997 study of California programs found that treatment combined with driver license penalties was more effective than license penalties alone in reducing repeat offenses among first and repeat offenders. DeYoung, D.J. 1997. An evaluation of the effectiveness of alcohol treatment, driver license actions, and jail terms in reducing drunken driving recidivism in California. Addiction 92(8):989-97. Treatment and rehabilitation in lieu of license sanctions or other penalties have not been shown to be effective in reducing recidivism or alcohol-involved crashes. Nichols, J.; Weinstein, E.; Ellingstad, V. and Struckman-Johnson, D. 1978. The specific deterrence effect of ASAP education and rehabilitation programs. Presented at the National Safety Congress. Chicago, Illinois. Nichols, J.; Ellingstad, V. and Struckman-Johnston, D. 1978. An experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of short term education and rehabilitation programs for convicted drinking drivers. Presented at the National Council on Alcoholism Annual Forum, St. Louis, Missouri.
- 18 Are new technologies being developed to prevent drivers from operating vehicles with illegal BACs?
Yes. A cooperative venture of motor vehicle manufacturers and the federal government is overseeing the development of advanced in-vehicle alcohol detection technologies that would be suitable for all drivers, not just convicted offenders. The goal of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program is to develop a device that can quickly, accurately and unobtrusively measure BACs and keep drivers from operating vehicles when their BACs exceed 0.08 percent.
Institute research indicates that about 7,000 deaths would have been prevented in 2010 if all drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent or higher had been kept off the roads. Lund, A.K.; McCartt, A.T.; and Farmer, C.M. 2012. Contribution of alcohol-impaired driving to motor vehicle crash deaths in 2010. Arlington, VA. Applying the same methods yields an estimate of about 6,800 preventable deaths if all drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent or higher were kept off the roads in 2011.
A 2009 survey showed that 2 out of 3 members of the general public support universal alcohol detection technology to prevent any driver from operating a vehicle after having too much to drink. McCartt, A.T; Wells, J.K.; and Teoh, E.R. 2010. Attitudes toward in-vehicle advanced alcohol detection technology. Traffic Injury Prevention 11(2):156-64.