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Drunk Driving Ad Campaigns Work

Study suggests they reduce road accidents by 13 percent

MONDAY, June 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Mass media ad campaigns meant to curb drunken driving can reduce alcohol-related traffic accidents by 13 percent, suggests a new U.S. study.

One factor for this success may be that the campaigns were released to a large audience over a long period of time and were thoroughly tested before they were aired, the study authors suggested.

"The studies reviewed here indicated that under some conditions, well-executed mass media campaigns can contribute to a reduction in alcohol-impaired driving and alcohol-related crashes. They also suggest that such campaigns are cost-saving," the authors wrote.

For example, one of the campaigns cost $403,174 per month. But the estimated savings in medical costs, job productivity losses, pain and suffering, and property damage were $8,324,532 per month, the study found.

The researchers, from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that most of the ad campaigns they reviewed were aired in communities with fairly high levels of enforcement against drunk driving.

That makes it unclear whether these campaigns would have been as effective in communities with less aggressive drunken driving measures.

The research appears in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about alcohol and driving.

SOURCE: Health Behavior News Service, news release, June 16, 2004
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