DOT HS 809 412
February 2002

The problem of alcohol impairment as a cause of motor vehicle crash (MVC) injury and death is well documented. Approximately 40% of motor vehicle fatalities are related to the use or abuse of alcohol. This problem is a public health emergency mandating aggressive intervention by the health care community. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), through its Partners in Progress initiative, has encouraged the health care community to address alcohol use and impaired driving, through its own initiatives and in partnership with law enforcement and other governmental entities.

Physicians, particularly trauma physicians working in the emergency department (ED) and elsewhere within trauma centers, may be in a key position to intervene with patients at high risk for motor vehicle crash injury. Accordingly, patients in the ED for any reason may be identified as being at high risk of driving while impaired by alcohol through the use of established screening tools. Those patients screening positive for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency (AA/AD) may be referred for definitive evaluation and treatment.

We undertook this project focusing on the population of drivers who abuse alcohol or who are alcohol dependent and presented to the ED following a MVC. View report