Alcohol-Control Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Drunk-Driving Fatal Accidents in the United States, 1996-2010

Widespread concern regarding the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol consumption (especially by minors) and associated social problems (particularly drunk driving) continues to exist among policymakers, law enforcement officers, and the general public. Alcohol consumption is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which itself is one of the main causes of death for people under 21 years of age in the United States. This study examines the relationship between the volume and timing of alcohol-control public service announcements (PSAs) and rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents in the U.S. The authors estimate ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models to predict rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents by state and month as a function of the volume of alcohol-control PSAs aired during the previous 8 months. Models include controls for state anti-drunk-driving laws and regulations, state demographic characteristics, state taxes on alcohol, calendar year, and seasonality. Results indicate that higher volumes of anti-drunk driving PSAs airing in the preceding 2 to 3months are associated, albeit modest in magnitude, with reduced rates of drunk-driving fatal accidents. The regression coefficients are largest for adults (relative to underage drunk drivers) and when the PSAs air during prime time (relative to daytime or nighttime). The authors conclude that PSAs could play an important contributing role in reducing drunk-driving fatal accidents, although levels of exposure and potential effects likely remain modest due to reliance on donated air time. Well-funded anti-drunk driving campaigns could achieve higher levels of exposure and have a larger impact.


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  • Accession Number: 01672023
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 10 2018 10:14AM