Examining an Intervention to Reduce Underage DUI and Riding with Impaired Drivers

Duration: 2017 - Present
Funding: National Institutes of Health (NIH) / National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Principal Investigator: Robert Turrisi
Partners: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

teens in car


Drunk driving is a major public health problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported nearly 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. in 2014. The problem is further magnified when one considers that each year over 1.3 million drivers in the U.S. are arrested for alcohol-impaired driving.

As alarming as these statistics are, they pale by comparison to estimates indicating that they only represent 1% of the 121 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. drivers each year.

In this study, we are attempting to help curb these alarming trends and move the field forward by conducting a randomized controlled trial testing a brief parent-intervention’s ability to change adolescents’ drinking, impaired driving, and riding with impaired driver behaviors. Our prior brief parent-based interventions have provided sufficient preliminary evidence of participation, communication, and efficacy for changing underage drinking to warrant a large-scale comprehensive study.

Our aims are as follows: evaluate the efficacy of the parent-based intervention (BPI), short and long term; examine mediators of the PBI that directly influence drinking, impaired driving, and riding with impaired driver behaviors; and identify moderators to help inform future tailoring and improvement in intervention effectiveness.

To the extent that the research is successful, it will provide an easy-to-implement and low-cost alternative that can be widely disseminated to address this important public health problem.

Project Team