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The impact of retail beverage service training and social host laws on adolescents’ DUI rates in San Diego Co, California

Previous research by a team in the US examined the impact of minimum legal drinking age (MLDA)- 21 laws in the state of California, on alcohol-related crash rates among drivers under 21 years of age. The team’s current research seeks to expand this evaluation to the county level (San Diego, County) and evaluates the impact of measures subject to County control such as 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 to determine the most effective point of intervention for communities seeking to reduce underage DUI citations.

Annual DUI citation data (2000 to 2013), Retail Beverage Service and Social Host policies, and citywide 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 used 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, while Retail Beverage Service laws, Social Host laws, alcohol tax rates, media clusters, gas tax rates and unemployment rates demonstrated significant decreases in DUI rates.

The team finds that at the county level, although Retail Beverage Service, Social Host 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. The authors recommend that policy makers interested in reducing DUI rates among teenagers, should examine these variables within their specific communities and consider conducting communityspecific research to determine the best way to do so. Future efforts should be made to develop models that represent specific communities who are interested in reducing DUI rates among drivers aged 16-20 years, they say.

Source: The impact of retail beverage service training and social host laws on adolescents’ DUI rates in San Diego Co, California. Scherer M; Romano E; Caldwell S; Taylor E, Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol 19, No 2, 2018, pp111-117.
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