Alcohol-related risk of driver fatalities: an update using 2007 data

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2012 May;73(3):341-50. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2012.73.341.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the relative risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash has changed over the decade from 1996 to 2007, a period during which there has been little evidence of a reduction in the percentage of all fatal crashes involving alcohol.

Method: We compared blood-alcohol information for the 2006 and 2007 crash cases (N = 6,863, 22.8% of them women) drawn from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) with control blood-alcohol data from participants in the 2007 U.S. National Roadside Survey (N = 6,823). Risk estimates were computed and compared with those previously obtained from the 1996 FARS and roadside survey data.

Results: Although the adult relative risk of being involved in a fatal alcohol-related crash apparently did not change from 1996 to 2007, the risk for involvement in an alcohol-related crash for underage women has increased to the point where it has become the same as that for underage men. Further, the risk that sober underage men will become involved in a fatal crash has doubled over the 1996-2007 period.

Conclusions: Compared with estimates obtained from a decade earlier, young women in this study are at an increased risk of involvement in alcohol-related crashes. Similarly, underage sober drivers in this study are more at risk of involvement in a crash than they were a decade earlier.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol