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There's no beverage of moderation, only the practice of moderation.

Understanding Moderation

Part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of beer, distilled spirits and wine each contains the same amount of alcohol. It's not what you drink, it's how much that counts.

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Combating Drunk Driving


Enforcing Laws.  Educating Drivers.  Saving Lives.

The beverage alcohol industry has a long-standing commitment to working with government, private organizations, and individuals to prevent drunk driving. Working together substantial progress has been made. The most effective means of continuing this positive trend occurs through strict enforcement of existing laws, educating drivers, and targeting hardcore drunk drivers.

"I commend Mothers Against Drunk Driving and The Century Council for your firm stand against alcohol-impaired driving."  --President George W. Bush, April 10, 2001.


The National Trend Is At Record Low Levels

  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities reached historic low levels in 2010 since 1982, the first year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began keeping such statistics.1  Alcohol-impaired (BAC 0.08+) driving fatalities have been at record lows since 2008 and are now 52% lower than in 1982 (decreased from 21,113 in 1982 to 10,228 in 2010.2

  • The number of 16-20 year old underage drivers involved in fatal accidents with BAC of 0.01 or greater decreased from 4,436 in 1982 to 1,014 in 2010, which represents a 77% decrease and is at a record low level, compared to the 36 % decline in underage drivers involved in non-alcohol related driving fatalities.3

  • The most recent data from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of high school students riding with a driver who had been drinking decreased from  28.3% in 2009 to 24.1% in 2011, and from 39.9% in 1991 to 24.1% in 2011.4

  • According to the YRBS survey the prevalence of high school students drinking and driving has decreased from 9.7% in 2009 to 8.2% in 2011, and from 16.9% in 1997 to 8.2% in 2011.4


The Hardcore Drunk Driving Problem

While our nation has made great progress over the years it is important that our efforts continue, especially in regard to hardcore drunk drivers. Hardcore drunk drivers are drivers who are either arrested with a BAC of 0.15 or have had multiple drunk driving arrests. Hardcore drunk drivers continue to account for a disproportionate share of the drunk-driving problem.

  • In 2010, 60% of the alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, where the alcohol test result for the driver was known, involved a high BAC (BAC ≥ 0.15) driver.5

Hardcore drunk drivers are resistant to changing their behavior in spite of previous punishment, education, treatment, or public disdain.

  • Hardcore drunk drivers are more likely to have a history of alcohol and other drug abuse problems.6

  • Other evidence indicates that hardcore drunk drivers are more likely to have prior reckless driving offenses, non-alcohol-related moving violations and non-moving traffic violations.7

  • Hardcore drunk drivers are also more likely to have a history of non-traffic (non-DWI) related criminal activity.8,9


Programs to prevent and reduce hardcore drunk driving:

The problems presented by hardcore drunk drivers are complex, and to combat this problem requires weaving together programs, policies, procedures and laws to create a coordinated system that addresses every aspect of the problem.  Research shows that comprehensive programs that include identification, certain punishment combined witheffective treatment can be effective in addressing this problem. 10

  • Studies have shown that screening and brief intervention of DWI offenders was effective in reducing alcohol consumption, and future DWI offenses. 11,12,13

  • Several court programs, which monitor alcohol consumption or the offender’s driving with swift but moderate penalties based on the offenders performance in meeting the monitoring requirements have shown to be effective in conforming to the abstinence requirements and avoid the short-term jail consequences. 14



June 2012

1The Century Council.  State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America 2010.  The Century Council website, www.century

2 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2012). State alcohol-impaired driving estimates. Traffic Safety facts 2010 Data (DOT HS 811 612).

3 U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatal Analysis Reporting System. Data obtained from NHTSA.

4Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2012). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2011.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 61(4).

5Data obtained from The Century Council.

6 Carlson, R., Sexton, R., Hammar, L., Reese T. (2011). Driving themselves to drink: qualitative perspectives from “hardcore” DUI repeat offenders in Ohio. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 10(4), 363-79.

7Peck, R., Arstein-Kerslake, G., Helander, C. (1994). Psychometric and biographical correlates of drunk-driving recidivism and treatment program compliance. Journal of Studies on Alcohol,55, 667-678.

8Webster, M., Oser, C., Mateyoke-Scrivner, A., Cline, V., Havens, J., Leukefeld, C. (2009).  Drug use and criminal activity among rural probationers with DUI histories. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 53(6), 717-730

9Gould, L., Gould, K. (1992). First-time and multiple-DWI offenders: A comparison of criminal history records and BAC levels. Journal of Criminal Justice, 20, 527-539.

10 The Century Council. The National Hardcore Drunk-Driver Project. The national agenda: A system to fight hardcore DWI.3rd Edition. The Century Council website,

11 Davis, H., Beaton, S., Worley, V., Parsons, W., Gunter, M. (2012). The effectiveness of screening and brief intervention on reducing driving while intoxicated citations. Population Health Management, 15(1), 52-7.

12 Brown, T., Dongier, M., Ouimet, M., Tremblay, J., Chanut, F., Ying kin, N. (2010). Brief motivational interviewing for DWI recidivists who abuse alcohol and are not participating in DWI intervention: A randomized controlled trial.  Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 34(2), 292-301.

13 Schermer, C., Moyers, T., Miller, W., Bloomfield, L. (2006). Trauma center brief interventions for alcohol disorders decrease subsequent driving under the influence arrest. The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care, 60, 29-34.

14Voas, R., DuPont, R., Talpins, S., Shea, C. (2011). Towards a national model for managing impaired driving offenders. Addiction,106(7), 1221-1227.

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