Sobriety checkpoints are commonly used in various communities along with enhanced police patrols to identify individuals who are driving under influence of alcohol. However, a new review claims that there is insufficient evidence that will prove that these efforts actually work to curb the number of road casualties associated with drunk driving.
According to lead reviewer Cynthia Goss from the Colorado Injury Control Research Center and the Colorado School of Public Health, while the increased police patrols may seem to work, there isn’t enough evidence to substantially prove how effective they really are. The review conducted by Goss and her colleagues was mainly aimed at determining whether the increased police visibility that are targeted at drunk driving affect the number of cases of road injuries or not.
The said review is published in The Cochrane Library, published by The Cochrane Collaboration – an international organization that works to evaluate and analyze various areas of health care. According to the reviewers, DUI is one of the most prevalent problems in the world. They further mention a recent survey conducted in the United States says “4.5 percent of adults reported having driven while impaired at least once in the last 12 months.”
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the United States saw nearly 16,000 cases of deaths due to alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2006. There was a larger number of injuries and impairments recorded for that year as well. This manifests the safety threats the drunk driving poses not only on the individual but on the community as well.
The reviewers for The Cochrane analyzed 32 studies, most of which were conducted in the US. Majority of the studies emphasize that police interventions and visibility was intended to pull down the number of drunk-drivers. There are other studies that were geared at reducing alcohol-related traffic violations as well.
While most of the studies showed that police visibility pulled down the number of cases of traffic accidents, the reviewers were still inclined to believe that the reductions may also be attributed to chance because of the small size of the studies. The quality of the examined studies was also questioned. “Study quality cannot be separated from study results,” says Goss. “A poor quality study can make the intervention look better – or worse – than it really is.”
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