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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.

Comments:

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

Reference:

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.


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