Evaluation of the effects of North Carolina's 0.08% BAC law

Accid Anal Prev. 2001 Jul;33(4):507-17. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(00)00064-6.


This study was conducted to determine whether the lowered BAC limit for drivers in North Carolina resulted in fewer alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. We used time-series analysis to examine several indicators of alcohol involvement in both injury and fatal crashes between 1991 and 1996. Data from NC crash files as well as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) are used. We also examined several indicators used in previous research on lower BAC limits using a before-after design to compare North Carolina with 37 states that did not change their BAC limit for 24 months before and after the BAC limit was lowered. When controlling for the pre-existing downward trend in drinking driver crashes, along with other pertinent factors such as amount of travel and number of weekends per month, there was no evidence of either a significant shift or a change in the downward trend of alcohol-related crashes associated with the lowered BAC limit. In conclusion, although the lower BAC limit was actively enforced and a substantial proportion of drinkers were aware of the new BAC limit, the drinking-driving population in North Carolina, at the time the lower limit took effect in October 1993, was simply unresponsive to this change.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Breath Tests
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology