Industry initiatives to prevent drinking and driving lack evidence of effectiveness

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Researchers find that the most effective interventions, such as use of sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlocks, are rarely used in industry-sponsored programs

The majority of the alcohol industry’s actions around the world to reduce drinking and driving either lack evidence of effectiveness or haven’t been studied, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

Reporting Feb. 18 in the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers analyzed the content of 266 initiatives the alcohol industry implemented around the world to reduce drinking and driving between 1982 and 2015.

They found that the most commonly used industry initiatives — including designated driver programs, ride services and mass media campaigns — lack evidence of effectiveness or have not been studied.

For instance, while ride services may reduce drinking and driving, people may actually consume more alcohol, which can increase the risk of other negative outcomes such as violence and injuries, the researchers say. Additionally, mass media campaigns with messages to drivers about reducing their alcohol consumption are generally ineffective unless they are rigorously planned and executed, and used alongside other evidence-based interventions.

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