214840 Alcohol in fatal crashes in the US involving foreign drivers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Susan P. Baker, MPH , Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Joanne Brady, SM , Anesthesiology, Columbia University, New York, NY
George W. Rebok, MA PhD , Department of Mental Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Guohua Li , Departments of Anesthesiology and Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background: Little is known about alcohol involvement in fatal crashes in the US involving drivers from other countries. We compared the characteristics of fatal crashes in the US with drivers licensed in Mexico and Canada with US-licensed drivers.

Method: Drivers age 16 or older involved in fatal crashes in the US during 1998 through 2008 were identified from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Drivers licensed in Mexico (n=767) and Canada (n=1213) were compared with 608,654 US-licensed drivers.

Results: Elevated blood alcohol concentrations (BACs ≥ 0.01 g/dL) were found in 25% (95% CI 25.1% - 25.4%) of US drivers, 25% (95% CI 20.8% - 28.1%), of Mexican drivers, and 7% (95% CI 5.0% - 8.3%) of Canadian drivers . Overall, about 79% of the positive BACs were 0.08 g/ dL or higher. Controlling for driver age, gender, and survival status as well as nighttime and vehicle type, Canadian drivers were 58% less likely than US drivers to be alcohol-impaired (BACs ≥0.08 g/dL). Canadian drivers were more often operating large trucks (gross vehicle weight ≥26,000 pounds), 51% compared with 10% of Mexicans and 8% of Americans (p<.0001). Mexican drivers were more likely than US and Canadian drivers to be charged with manslaughter, driving an uninsured vehicle, inattention, and failure to yield.

Conclusion: Drivers with Mexican licenses are similar to US-licensed drivers with regard to alcohol involvement in fatal crashes. Canadian drivers are less than half as likely to be under the influence of alcohol when other factors are controlled.

Learning Objectives:
1. Differentiate among US, Mexican, and Canadian drivers in the likelihood that their crashes in the US will involve alcohol. 2. Describe policies and other factors that may be related to the differences.

Keywords: Alcohol, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceived and conducted the research and was the primary author of the paper;injury prevention has been my specialty for 40 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.