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Research Summary

Brief Interventions Can Prevent DUI Arrests

Strategies that reduce the high recidivism of driving under the influence (DUI) are critical to preventing injuries from motor vehicle crashes, a leading cause of alcohol-attributable death. To determine whether an alcohol brief intervention can prevent DUI arrests, researchers randomized 126 patients hospitalized for an injury from a motor vehicle crash to receive either a 30-minute motivational counseling session or standard care. Subjects were aged 16–80 years and at admission had a blood alcohol concentration of >=80 mg/dL or an elevated score on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). DUI arrests during the 3 years after discharge were measured by matching subject data to state traffic-safety data.

  • During follow-up, 7 (11%) of subjects in the brief intervention group and 14 (22%) in the standard care group were arrested for DUI. This difference was not statistically significant.
  • However, DUI arrests were significantly less common among intervention subjects (odds ratio 0.3) in analyses adjusted for age, sex, blood alcohol concentration, AUDIT score, and prior DUI arrests.


These results indicate that brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use may be useful for preventing DUI arrests among people injured in a motor vehicle crash. The small number of outcomes prevented the unadjusted analysis from reaching significance, but a strong effect was found in adjusted analyses. The study was limited by the absence of out-of-state DUI arrest data and nonreporting of other alcohol outcomes, such as alcohol consumption and consequences.

Kevin L. Kraemer, MD, MSc


Schermer CR, Moyers TB, Miller WR, et al. Trauma center brief interventions for alcohol disorders decrease subsequent driving under the influence arrests. J Trauma. 2006;60(1):29–34.