The effects of introducing or lowering legal per se blood alcohol limits for driving: an international review

Accid Anal Prev. 2001 Sep;33(5):569-83. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(00)00077-4.


In this review evidence on the impact of introducing or lowering legal blood alcohol limits on traffic safety measures is examined. There is substantial variability in the types and rigour of methods used to evaluate these legislative measures, and thus not surprisingly there is variability in the results observed. In most but not all cases where an evaluation of an introduced or lowered legal limit has been conducted, some beneficial effect on traffic safety measures has been reported. These effects are in some cases relatively small, and in other cases may be temporary. In some jurisdictions, lasting reductions in collision rates have been reported. Available evidence suggests that where beneficial effects are observed they are due to general deterrence, and not restricted only to drivers at blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) specifically affected by the legal change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood*
  • Australia
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Canada
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood*
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Reference Values
  • United States


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol