Drinking-Driving Patterns at Night: Baseline Roadside Survey of the Fairfax Alcohol Safety Action Project

Report No: 73-R34

Published in 1974

About the report:

As part of the Fairfax Alcohol Safety Action Project (ASAP), staff members of the Virginia Highway Research Council, acting in their role as evaluators of the project, conducted a baseline survey of the nighttime drinking-driving patterns in Fairfax, Virginia. The ASAP concept recognizes the major role alcohol plays in fatal and serious highway crashes and the project consists of countermeasures designed to identify drunken drivers and remove them from the road into proper educational or rehabilitative programs. The ultimate objective of the project is to reduce the number of fatal, personal injury, and property damage accidents caused by the drinking driver. The purpose of the nighttime roadside survey is to provide a secondary measure of the effectiveness of the ASAP in reducing the incidence of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The baseline survey was the first of four annual surveys which will be used to measure changes in the nighttime levels of drinking by drivers in Fairfax County. It was conducted during eleven nights in January 1972, and at three sites each night. The time periods were from 7:00 p.m. -- 9:20 p.m. (Site 1), 9:50 p.m.-12:10 a.m. (Site 2), and 12:40 a.m.-3:00 a.m. (Site 3). At each site motorists were stopped at random and asked to answer a short questionnaire and to provide a breath sample for a determination of their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A total of 1,577 drivers were sampled: 838 on weekday nights and 739 on weekends (Friday, Saturday).

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Thomas J. Smith

Last updated: February 6, 2024

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