Consequences of underage drinking fact sheet

Greater risk for our children .Alcohol is number one abused drug in the country, Is the warning label on alcohol clear?


Facts

Open Container

  • Open container laws save lives.  States with open container laws had significantly fewer drunk driving fatalities than those without (41.8% of fatalities were alcohol-related in states without open container laws, compared with 37% in states with federally compliant laws).[1]  Another study found a 5.1% decrease in fatal crash rates because of open container laws.[2]  A third found that open container laws had a significant deterrent effect against driving under the influence for both drinkers in general and for heavy drinkers.[3]
  • Open container laws reduce hit-and-run crashes.  Impaired drivers often flee the scene of an accident to conceal their intoxication.  Maine, South Dakota, and Rhode Island all found a significant decrease in hit-and-run crashes after enacting a federally compliant open container law.[4]
  • Open container laws can help deter drinking drivers.  When properly publicized, knowledge of an open container law could prevent someone from drinking while in the automobile.  Primary enforcement is particularly important here; the message needs to be if you are seen drinking while driving, you can be pulled over for that alone.
  • The public supports open container laws.  Eighty-three percent of people in states without an open container law said that they would support such a law in their state.[5]
  • Open container laws helps keep federal highway funds flexible.  If a state hasn’t enacted a federally compliant open container law by October 1, 2002, they are subject to having three percent of their state’s federal highway funds transferred specifically to combat DUIs.  If the state does have a law in place, all of the funding is free to be used how the state sees fit.

 

[1] Stuster, Jack; Burns, Marcelline; and Fiorentino, Dary.  Open Container Laws and Alcohol Involved Crashes: Some Preliminary Data.  DOT HS 809 426.  April 2002.

[2] Eisenberg, Daniel.  Evaluating the Effectiveness of a 0.08% BAC Limit and Other Policies Related to Drunk Driving.  SIEPR Discussion Paper No. 00-23.  January 2001.

[3] Stout EM, Sloan FA, Liang L, Davies HH.  Reducing harmful alcohol-related behaviors: effective regulatory methods.  J Stud Alcohol 2000 May;61(3):402-12.

[4] Stuster, Jack; Burns, Marcelline; and Fiorentino, Dary.  Open Container Laws and Alcohol Involved Crashes: Some Preliminary Data.  DOT HS 809 426.  April 2002.

[5] ibid.

 

 

 

 

 


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