Context: Publicized sobriety checkpoint programs deter alcohol-impaired driving by stopping drivers systematically to assess their alcohol impairment. Sobriety checkpoints were recommended in 2001 by the Community Preventive Services Task Force for reducing alcohol-impaired driving, based on strong evidence of effectiveness. Since the 2001 review, attention to alcohol-impaired driving as a U.S. public health problem has decreased. This systematic review was conducted to determine if available evidence supports the effectiveness of publicized sobriety checkpoint programs in reducing alcohol-impaired driving, given the current context. The economic costs and benefits of the intervention were also assessed.
Evidence acquisition: This review focused on studies that evaluated the effects of publicized sobriety checkpoint programs on alcohol-involved crash fatalities. Using Community Guide methods, a systematic search was conducted for studies published between July 2000 and March 2012 that assessed the effectiveness of publicized sobriety checkpoint programs.
Evidence synthesis: Fourteen evaluations of selective breath testing and one of random breath testing checkpoints met the inclusion criteria for the systematic review, conducted in 2012. Ten evaluations assessed the effects of publicized sobriety checkpoint programs on alcohol-involved crash fatalities, finding a median reduction of 8.9% in this crash type (interquartile interval=-16.5%, -3.5%). Five economic evaluations showed benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 57:1.
Conclusions: The number of studies, magnitude of effect, and consistency of findings indicate strong evidence of the effectiveness of publicized sobriety checkpoint programs in reducing alcohol-involved crash fatalities. Economic evidence shows that these programs also have the potential for substantial cost savings.
Published by Elsevier Inc.