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School Programs Reduce Riding with Drunk Drivers



School-based instructional programs may result in fewer children riding with alcohol-impaired drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on a recent article in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the research involved three types of school-based programs: instructional programs, peer organizations, and social norming campaigns. Instructional programs generally involve teachers, police officers, or others providing classroom-type instruction in the problems of drunk driving and riding with drunk drivers. Peer organizations such as Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) involve students in a variety of drunk-driving-prevention activities. Social-norming campaigns provide students with objective information regarding student alcohol consumption to change student behaviors and combat inaccurate information previously obtained by students.

DUI Programs Reduce Number Of Teens Driving Drunk

The study revealed that school-based instructional programs do reduce the number of students riding with alcohol-impaired drivers. Four separate studies showed that the number of students who reported riding with drunk drivers declined after instructional programs. Five other studies revealed that the number of students who reported drinking and driving also declined after instructional programs; however, the amount of the decrease was not enough to provide sufficient evidence of the programs' effectiveness.

Some Studies Inconclusive

The effect of peer organizations was examined by two other studies. Neither study showed a significant drop in either drunk driving or riding with drunk drivers, although other beneficial outcomes were noted. Two further studies reviewed social-norming campaigns. The studies showed that drunk driving was reduced; however, researchers were unable to draw sustainable conclusions because of defects in the design of the studies.

Efforts To Educate About Riding With Drunk Drivers

Based on these studies, the CDC recommends the use of school-based instructional programs to reduce riding with alcohol-impaired drivers. The CDC noted that although there has been considerable progress with the development of school-based programs to reduce drinking and driving, these programs need to be reviewed to determine which ones actually work and have the desired effect on students. One CDC criticism of the studies was that they all relied upon data that was self-reported by students. This type of data can be biased and, according to the CDC, should be supplemented in future studies with more objective evidence to reduce bias.