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Journal Article


Popkin CL, Council F. Proc. Assoc. Adv. Automot. Med. Annu. Conf. 1991; 35: 197-217.


(Copyright © 1991, Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine)






This study examines North Carolina trends in drinking and driving behavior for non-whites. There is a limited amount of research on the drinking behavior of non- whites. Most studies have been based on either hospital admissions for alcoholism or surveys of drinking behavior; many are studies of inner-city populations; and many of the reported findings are contradictory.

The goal of this paper is to further broaden the knowledge of drinking/driving behavior by examining the involvement of North Carolina (NC) non-white drivers in alcohol-related (A/R) crashes and fatal crashes involving alcohol for the period of 1980 through 1988. The study identifies an A/R crash involvement problem for non-whites, particularly non-white males above the age of twenty-five and non-white females above the age of fifty-four. For ages twenty-five and higher, the A/R crash rates per licensed NW male are at least twice those of white males. In addition, the DWI arrest rates per driver are approximately twice as high for non-white males as for white males of the same age.

Through analysis of other data related to arrests for drinking and driving, single- vehicle nighttime (SVNT) crashes, breath alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of those arrested for DWI, and those involved in A/R crashes, and those involved in fatal crashes, a series of alternative explanations for this non-white involvement are examined. It is concluded that while non-white males and females may be involved in more crashes than whites at the same BAC level (as hypothesized by other researchers), there is also evidence that non-whites appear to drive more often after drinking, and also drive at slightly higher levels of BAC.


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