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The effectiveness of alternative transportation programs in reducing impaired driving: A literature review and synthesis


ABSTRACT: Highlights • Since a high proportion of drinkers drive to their drinking destination, promoting the use of alternative transportation (AT) is an important strategy for preventing impaired driving.• The primary goal of this study was to review and synthesize the findings of research studies designed to test the effectiveness of AT programs in reducing alcohol-impaired driving.• After a thorough review, we narrowed down the number of relevant articles to 76 including some background articles and government reports.• There is mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of AT programs. Some AT programs produced reductions in one or more measures but others were not shown to be effective.• The most successful AT programs typically have social acceptance, a high level of public awareness, are low cost, have year-round availability, provide rides to and from drinking venues, have several sponsors that provide funding), are convenient and are perceived to be safe. Background: Studies have shown that approximately half of arrested intoxicated drivers had their last alcoholic drink at a licensed bar or restaurant. Current efforts to prevent intoxicated patrons from leaving licensed establishments and driving home have been only partially successful. Since a high proportion of drinkers drive to their drinking destination, promoting the use of alternative transportation (AT) – including safe ride shuttles, free or subsidized taxi and ridesharing services, voluntary or paid designated driver programs, and more accessible public transportation – is an important strategy for preventing impaired driving. Objective: The primary goal of this study was to review and synthesize the findings of research studies designed to test the effectiveness of AT programs in reducing alcohol-impaired driving. A secondary goal was to report if using AT has led to any unintended consequences, in particular greater alcohol consumption. Methods: We identified relevant academic articles, new articles, government reports, and other documents (English only) through the University of Chicago library, Google Scholar, and Google Search. We also included published articles recommended by peers. Key search terms included: alternative transportation; safe rides; designated driver; alcohol-impaired driving; alcohol consumption, cost effectiveness; and reduce drunk driving. Initially, we identified 168 potentially relevant sources, of which only 57 were academic articles. After a thorough review, we narrowed down the number of relevant articles to 125 including some background articles and government reports. Results: There is mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of AT programs. Some AT programs produced reductions in one or more of the following outcomes: (1) impaired driving; (2) impaired driving crashes; (3) driving under the influence (DUI) arrests; and (4) traffic crashes in general, but others were not shown to be effective. A few programs resulted in greater self-reported alcohol use, but there were no significant findings indicating that drinking when using AT led to an increase in alcohol-related harms such as public intoxication, assaults, or other alcohol-related crime. Of the studies that conducted a cost-benefit analysis, most showed that AT programs yielded a positive benefit, but these studies did not include a sufficient number of variables to be considered true cost-benefit analyses. Conclusions: The literature review and synthesis revealed that the most successful AT programs typically have some of these attributes: (1) social acceptance; (2) high level of public awareness; (3) low cost; (4) year-round availability; (5) provide rides to and from drinking venues; (6) several sponsors that provide funding); (7) user convenience; and (8) perceived safety. Evaluations with more rigorous quasi-experimental and experimental designs are needed to identify which types of AT programs work best for different types of communities and target groups.

SUBMITTER: Fell J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7505578 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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