Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving: 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Laws
These laws state that it is illegal for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration to exceed 0.08%.
Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings
Results from the Systematic Review
Nine studies qualified for the systematic review.
- Each study evaluated 0.08% BAC laws in one or more of the 16 states that implemented the laws before January 1, 1998.
- Studies reviewed fatal injury crashes (8 studies) and fatal and nonfatal injury crashes (1 study).
- Fatalities due to alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes: median decrease of 7% following implementation of the law (interquartile range: 15% to 4% decrease; 7 studies)
- Potential lives saved per year if all states enact 0.08% BAC laws: 400 - 600 (3 studies)
These results are based on a systematic review of all available studies led by scientists from CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention with input from a team of specialists in systematic review methods and experts in research, practice and policy related to reducing alcohol-impaired driving.
No studies met Community Guide requirements for an economic review of this intervention.
- Analytic Framework – see Figure 1 on page 67 [PDF - 2.29 MB]
- Evidence Gaps
- Summary Evidence Tables* [PDF - 320 kB]
- Included Studies
- Search Strategy
Shults RA, Elder RW, Sleet DA, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. [PDF - 67 kB] Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S):66–88.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to reduce injuries to motor vehicle occupants: increasing child safety seat use, increasing safety belt use, and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. [PDF - 2.30 MB] Am J Prev Med 2001;21(4S):16–22.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Motor-vehicle occupant injury: strategies for increasing use of child safety seats, increasing use of safety belts, and reducing alcohol-impaired driving. MMWR Recommendations and Reports 2001;50(RR07):1-13.
Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Motor vehicle occupant injury. [PDF - 355 kB] In : Zaza S, Briss PA, Harris KW, eds. The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health? Atlanta (GA): Oxford University Press;2005:329-84.
Mercer SL, Sleet DA, Elder RA, Cole KH, RA Shults, Nichols JL. Translating evidence into policy: lessons learned from the case of lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers. Annals of Epidemiology 2010;20(6):412-20.
Read other Community Guide publications about Motor Vehicle-Related Injury Prevention in our library.
Community Guide News
- From Research to Policy: Lessons from a Community Guide Review on Alcohol-Impaired Driving Laws
Developed by The Community Guide in collaboration with CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention
More promotional materials for Community Guide reviews about Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving.
*PDF includes all of the information available and will not be updated.
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation:
Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws. www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/BAC-laws.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: August 2000
- Page last reviewed: September 24, 2013
- Page last updated: September 24, 2013
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services