On June 23, 1983, Maine implemented an automatic one year driver's license suspension for any person under age 20 identified by police as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .02. Previously teenagers and adults could legally drive with BACs up to 0.10 (about 5 drinks in an hour for a 150 lb person). Five hundred 16- to 19-year-olds in Maine and 500 in Massachusetts for comparison were interviewed in a July, 1983, anonymous random digit dial telephone survey. They were asked about their own drinking and driving behavior and traffic crash involvement prior to the law. Surveys of 1000 16- to 19-year-olds in each State annually for three post-law years asked similar questions for comparison. In the first post-law year over 1400 Maine teenage licenses were suspended and over 1200 in the second year. After the law, only 40-50% of Maine's 16- to 19-year-olds learned that it was illegal to drive after more than one drink and two-thirds did not know that they could lose their license if they drove after more than one drink. Maine teens who understood the law drove less often after drinking than other teens. Overall the frequency that Maine teenagers reported driving after drinking and heavy drinking declined significantly after the .02 law relative to Massachusetts teens and adults in Maine. During the first three post-law years the annual average of teenage night fatal crashes in Maine was 20% lower relative to the four pre-law years. In comparison adult night fatal crashes rose 2%. However, teen night fatal crashes also declined 29% after the law in Massachusetts and the difference between states was not significant.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Brain Information Service

    California University, Center for Health Science
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90024
  • Authors:
    • Hingson, R
    • Heeren, T
    • Morelock, S
  • Publication Date: 1989-1

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00608538
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-040 778
  • Created Date: May 31 1991 12:00AM