The possible effect on highway losses of reducing the legal minimum drinking age was examined. Involvement of drivers under 21 in fatal crashes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario in which legal minimum drinking age was reduced from 21 to 18 in either 1971 or 1972 was compared with involvement of such drivers in Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota, states respectively contiguous to them in which the legal drinking age remained 21 during the period studied. Data from police reports were obtained on all recorded fatal crashes, whether or not the drivers were killed. There was a significant increase in involvement in fatal crashes of drivers under 21 in areas that changed the law, particularly in nighttime and single vehicle crashes where alcohol is most often involved. Fatal crash involvement of drivers under 21 in border states did not increase. The law change effected the perception and/or reporting of alcohol involvement by the police more than it affected the fatal crash rate.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    1005 North Glebe Road
    Arlington, VA  United States  22201
  • Authors:
    • Williams, A F
    • Rich, R F
    • ZADOR, P L
    • Robertson, L S
  • Publication Date: 1974

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 34 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00127413
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 29 1976 12:00AM