Safety & Compliance

Study: Mandatory Alcohol Testing Cuts Risk of Alcohol Involvement in Fatal Crashes

October 2010, - Feature

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A study by scientists at Columbia University found that mandatory alcohol testing programs for commercial truck drivers may have contributed to a significant reduction in alcohol involvement in fatal motor carrier crashes.

The study, "Effectiveness of mandatory alcohol testing programs in reducing alcohol involvement in fatal motor carrier crashes," was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"Mandatory alcohol testing programs for motor carrier drivers were implemented in the United States in 1995 and have not been adequately evaluated," wrote J.E. Brady and colleagues.

Using data from the federal government's Fatality Analysis Reporting System during 1982-2006, they assessed the effectiveness of mandatory alcohol testing programs in reducing alcohol involvement in fatal truck crashes.

The study sample consisted of 69,295 motor carrier drivers and 83,436 non-motor-carrier drivers who were involved in 66,138 fatal multivehicle crashes. Overall, 2.7 percent of the motor carrier drivers and 19.4 percent of the non-motor-carrier drivers had positive blood alcohol concentrations.

With adjustment for driver age, sex, history of driving while intoxicated, and survival status, implementation of the mandatory alcohol testing programs was found to be associated with a 23 percent reduced risk of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes by truck drivers.

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