Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Lyke Thompson

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak

Third Advisor

Dr. Morty Wagenfeld


The objective of this study is to determine if anti-drunk driving legislation, enacted between January 1979 and December 1983, has significantly reduced the number of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities.

At the macro-level, 60 consecutive months of alcohol-involved fatality data were requested from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Sixteen states supplied the requested data. The Box-Jenkins technique for interrupted time-series analysis was used to determine if a change in the state's drunk driving law impacted the frequency of alcohol-involved fatalities in that state. Results are discussed in relation to the statewide impact of anti-drunk driver legislation.

At the micro-level, alcohol-involved arrest and fatality data were collected for all counties in Michigan. Counties were first aggregated on the basis of traditional population groupings (e.g., urban, and rural) and analyzed using the interrupted time-series approach.

The next level of analysis involves determining if a relationship exists between changes in the frequency of alcohol-involved fatalities and preparations made by criminal justice agencies prior to implementation of the new law. A survey, based on Edwards' (1980) four prerequisites to implementation, was sent throughout Michigan to all County Sheriffs and Prosecutors, District Court Chief Judges, and the Chief of Police in the largest city in each county. Survey responses were analyzed in terms of whether activities surrounding implementation of the new law were consistent with Edwards' model. Counties were also reaggregated on the basis of responses to key questions and analyzed by interrupted times series technique to determine if identifiable implementation activity was related to changes in the frequency of alcohol-involved arrests or fatalities.

At the state level, with the exception of California, alcohol-involved traffic fatalities did not decline significantly following changes in anti-drunk driving statutes. Further detailed evaluation in Michigan, based upon county level aggregation, uncovered a statistically significant reduction in Michigan's Wayne county SMSA. When counties were aggregated on the basis of criminal justice officials' perception of whether the law has been effective, a statistically significant reduction in alcohol-involved fatalities was found in a thirteen county area.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access