Page last updated:June 5, 2017

Alcohol-control PSAs and drunkdriving fatalities in the United States

A study examined the relationship between the volume and timing of alcohol-control public service announcements (PSAs) and rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents in the US. Regression models were employed to predict rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents by state and month as a function of the volume of alcohol-control PSAs aired during the previous 8 months. Models controlled for state anti-drunk-driving laws and regulations, state demographic characteristics, state taxes on alcohol, calendar year, and seasonality.

Higher volumes of anti-drunk driving PSAs airing in the preceding 2 to 3 months were modestly associated with reduced rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents. The association was strongest for adults (relative to driver under 21) and when the PSAs air during prime time (relative to daytime or nighttime).

The study concludes that PSAs could play an important contributing role in reducing drunkdriving fatal accidents, although levels of exposure and potential effects likely remain modest due to reliance on donated air time. Well-funded anti-drunk driving campaigns could achieve higher levels of exposure and have a larger impact, they suggest.

Source: Alcohol-control PSAs and drunk-driving fatal accidents in the United States, 1996-2010. Niederdeppe J, Avery R, Miller EN. Preventive Medicine, vol 99, 2017, pp320-325.

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