EVALUATION OF THE TEXAS 0.08 BAC LAW
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AIMS: The purpose of the present study was to assess the effects on alcohol-involved traffic crashes and fatalities of the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) per se law introduced in the state of Texas in 1999. METHOD: Data pertaining to alcohol-involved traffic crashes and fatalities were extracted from two datasets: the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (for the period January 1995-September 2002), and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports of Alcohol Related Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents and Casualties (for the period January 1995-December 2000). The data were analysed using time-series methods (ARIMA routines). The effects of the law on all drivers were assessed, along with the effects among gender, racial, and age subgroups and crash location (urban vs rural). RESULTS: Separate time-series analyses were conducted with all alcohol-involved and fatal alcohol-involved crashes from the DPS dataset and fatal alcohol-involved crashes from the FARS dataset as the outcome variables. None of the effects for either the total sample or any of the subgroups analysed was statistically significant (this was true of both the FARS and DPS datasets). CONCLUSIONS: While there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that 0.08 BAC laws can be effective in reducing alcohol-involved traffic accidents and fatalities, the present study shows that this was not the case in Texas. Future research should move beyond the simple question of whether or not 0.08 BAC laws 'work' and instead explore in more detail the conditions, such as publicity and enforcement, under which the law does or does not contribute to a decline in alcohol-involved accidents and fatalities.
author list (cited authors)
GORMAN, D. M., HUBER, J. C., & CAROZZA, S. E.