Preventing alcohol-related traffic injury: a health promotion approach

Traffic Inj Prev. 2004 Sep;5(3):208-19. doi: 10.1080/15389580490465238.


The conditions that give rise to drinking and driving are complex, with multiple and interrelated causes. Prevention efforts benefit from an approach that relies on the combination of multiple interventions. Health promotion provides a useful framework for conceptualizing and implementing actions to reduce drinking and driving since it involves a combination of educational, behavioral, environmental, and policy approaches. This review draws on data from a range of settings to characterize the effectiveness of various interventions embedded within the health promotion approach. Interventions considered part of the health promotion approach include: (1) economic interventions (2) organizational interventions, (3) policy interventions, and (4) health education interventions, including the use of media, school and community education, and public awareness programs. Effective health promotion strengthens the skills and capabilities of individuals to take action and the capacity of groups or communities to act collectively to exert control over the determinants of alcohol-impaired driving. There is strong evidence for the effectiveness of some components of health promotion, including economic and retailer interventions, alcohol taxation, reducing alcohol availability, legal and legislative strategies, and strategies addressing the servers of alcohol. There is also evidence for the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints, lower BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and supportive media promotion programs. Other interventions with moderate evidence of effectiveness include restricting alcohol advertising and promotion, and actions involving counter advertising. Health education interventions alone that have insufficient evidence for effectiveness include passive server training programs, school drug and alcohol education programs, community mobilization efforts, and health warnings. Because each intervention builds on the strengths of every other one, ecological approaches to reducing alcohol-impaired driving using all four components of the health promotion model are likely to be the most effective. Settings such as schools, workplaces, cities, and communities offer practical opportunities to implement alcohol-impaired driving prevention programs within this framework.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Alcohol Drinking* / prevention & control
  • Australia
  • Decision Making
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Licensure
  • Public Health Practice
  • Restaurants / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Control, Informal*