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Notice to Readers: Alcohol Involvement in Fatal Motor-Vehicle Crashes ---United States, 1999--2000

The following table compares alcohol involvement in fatal motor-vehicle crashes by age group and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for 1999 and 2000. A fatal crash is considered alcohol-related by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) if either a driver or nonoccupant (e.g., pedestrian) had a BAC of >0.01 g/dL in a police-reported traffic crash. Because BACs are not available for all persons in fatal crashes, NHTSA estimates the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on the basis of a discriminant analysis of information from all cases for which driver or nonoccupant BAC data are available (1).

Overall during 1999--2000, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased by 4% (95% confidence interval [CI]=2%--7%). For BACs >0.10 g/dL (the legal limit for intoxication in most states in 1999 and 2000), fatalities increased by 4% (95% CI=1%--6%); for BACs of 0.01--0.09 g/dL, fatalities increased by 7% (95% CI=2%--12%). A broad range of public health and traffic safety strategies will be needed to stem further increases and reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities (2).

References

  1. Klein TM. A method for estimating posterior BAC distributions for persons involved in fatal traffic accidents: final report. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1986; publication no. DOT-HS-807-094.
  2. Shults RA, Elder RW, Sleet DA, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S):66--88.

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