There is a lot of ongoing research being conducted on the matter of driving under the influence. The number of research projects and people involved in the collection of contributive DUI data is multiplying. This includes technological advances that lead to more advanced tools for alcohol detection and devoted organizations’ statistical reports revealing the success and failures of prevention programs,
From students to scientists and analysts to retired volunteers, commitment to the cause from all angles is advancing our knowledge of drinking and driving. Such research will expand our collective capability to prevent drunk driving, stop drunk driving-related accidents, and save lives.
The correlation between drinking and driving
Scientific studies are revealing previously unknown links that spell out the relationship between drinking and driving. How does alcohol really affect coordination, decision-making, and overall driving ability? What are the main causes of drinking and driving related accidents? It is only through expanding our factual database that we can work towards solutions.
Organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) dedicate an overwhelming amount of time to their annual statistical reports. The reports outline averages ranging from the amount of DUI accidents a year in the United States to the drunk drivers’ most common drink of choice to seatbelt use and underage alcohol accessibility.
Other organizations such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Foundation for Alcohol Research and several university research centers, including the University of Connecticut School of Medicine’s Alcohol Research Center, are studying areas such as the nature of addiction, individual vulnerability factors, and the efficacy of solutions for addiction treatment.
Ongoing research is revealing new statistics on underage drinking. Why do kids drink? What steps can be taken to prevent underage drinking and bad decision-making from an early start? How can abstinence from alcohol be cool? How can students help spread the word?
These kinds of questions are being taken into consideration by projects such as the NIAAA’s Underage Drinking Research Initiative and research and fact-gathering organizations such as the Drug Free Action Alliance.
The leader in research on underage drinking is SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). A huge alliance of student chapters throughout US middle schools, high schools, and colleges, SADD seeks to inform students and aid them in making good decisions through a peer-to-peer education and support network. SADD’s research includes initiatives to study how zero-tolerance policies in schools, sports, and other student activities are successfully deterring underage drinking and driving.
Technology in Breath Analysis
A hotly debated topic, the use of breath analysis devices, or breathalyzers, has a history of inaccuracy. Current research outlines new potential models and techniques capable of more accurate results. These studies are being headed by multiple breath and air analysis manufacturers, as well as fuel cell technology specialists and various fuel cell research think tanks.
Alternative preventative measures
The success of more alternative types of DUI deterring techniques is also being analyzed. How successful have strategies like roadside sobriety checkpoints, which are utilized frequently in states like California, been in deterring drunk driving?
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, they have been quite successful. Their current research indicates that far fewer alcohol-related crashes are occurring when sobriety checkpoints are implemented. This may seem obvious, but without proof of success, other states may not adopt such “invasive” policies.
In addition, studies are being conducted on alternative preventative measures, such as new advertising regulations (e.g., required disclosures, drunk driving warnings) and their effects on consumers of alcoholic products. Alcoholic advertising restrictions have the potential to reverse alcohol’s image to underage consumers and help deter driving under the influence. Some schools such as the University of Minnesota’s Alcohol Epidemiology Program and institutes including the Center on Marketing and Youth are making significant headway in research.
The United States has one of the most lenient drinking and driving policies in the world. Some studies are beginning to analyze the long-term effects of our various state and federal policies versus other countries’ zero-tolerance policies.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled a report of international comparison of DUI policies around the world, and a host of DUI-related websites have published similar research and factual information.