The relative risk of involvement in fatal crashes as a function of race/ethnicity and blood alcohol concentration

J Safety Res. 2014 Feb;48:95-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2013.12.005. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


Introduction: The literature presents a puzzling picture of Latinos being overrepresented in alcohol-related crashes, but not in noncrash drinking and driving. This report examines if, like other demographic variables in which some groups are at a higher crash risk than others (e.g., young drivers), different racial/ethnic groups face different crash risks.

Method: This study compares blood-alcohol information from the 2006-2007 U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) with control data from the 2007 U.S. National Roadside Survey. Logistic regression, including a dual interaction between BAC and race/ethnicity, was used to estimate crash risk at different BAC levels.

Results: It was found that, although Hispanic and African-American drivers were less likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes than their White counterparts, all drivers face similar BAC relative crash risk regardless of their group membership. The overrepresentation of Latino drivers in alcohol-related crashes could be explained by differences in patterns of consumption, driving exposure, lack of awareness of driving rules, and/or socioeconomics.

Keywords: Alcohol-related crashes; BAC; Crash risk; Drinking and driving; Race/ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Alcohol Drinking / mortality*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult