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Developing and Implementing a Tool to Evaluate and Improve Underage Drinking and Driving Policies

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $495,520)

OJJDP's Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation (FIRE) Program supports methodologically rigorous research and evaluation studies that inform policy and practice consistent with the Department of Justice's mission. OJJDP is funding field-initiated studies to understand the factors that influence the prevention of underage drinking, the enforcement of underage drinking laws, and individuals' and communities' attitudes and behaviors about underage drinking. The FY 2012 EUDL FIRE Program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, Pub. L. No. 112-55, 125 Stat. 552, 617.

The benefits of the minimum legal drinking age of 21, graduated driver licensing, zero-tolerance, and blood alcohol concentration per se laws to curb teens' drinking as well as drinking and driving have been clearly established. Despite the benefits associated with these laws, teen drinking and driving remains a problem. Variations in enactment and enforcement of these laws across states and their implementation under a variety of local economic and cultural environments contribute to reducing policy efficacy. Policy makers and officials in each community face the difficult problem of assessing which legal, regulatory, and enforcement efforts would be the most efficient (i.e., achieve results at a minimum cost) to curb teen drinking and driving. Learning how to navigate this maze of legal diversity and effectiveness is not straightforward. In this submission, PIRE proposes to build a data-based model that combines scientific knowledge with specific legal and budgetary conditions to help policy makers in different communities explore policy changes and forecast alternative outcome scenarios. This two-phase effort proposes to build such a tool (Phase I) and make it applicable to San Diego County, California (Phase II).

Date Created: August 20, 2012