Enforcing alcohol-impaired driving and seat belt use laws, Binghamton, New York

Wells, JoAnn K. / Preusser, David F. / Williams, Allan F.
Journal of Safety Research

An evaluation of an integrated enforcement program designed to reduce alcohol-impaired driving and increase seat belt use in Binghamton, NY, was conducted. The program's emphasis is on the publicized use of sobriety and seat belt use checkpoints, passive alcohol sensors, and seatbelt law enforcement. A study of the program's first two years shows that a relative overall reduction of about 39% in the number of drivers who had been drinking and were stopped at police checkpoints was sustained from Fall 1988 to Fall 1990; evidence was also found of significantly fewer injury-producing crashes and significantly fewer late-night crashes during months when checkpoints were held. Drivers with high blood alcohol concentrations were relatively unaffected by the program. Seat belt use rose, especially at night. Results suggest that checkpoints may have to be both constant and visible features of enforcement for their benefits to be lasting.