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Brief Intervention Can Curtail Drunken Driving

Arrests Cut in Half for Those Receiving Counseling


Updated February 11, 2008

Brief intervention -- a series of four short counseling sessions -- can reduce a wide range of harmful drinking habits, including drunken driving arrests, according to a study of trauma center patients in New Mexico.

Researchers at the Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina, studied trauma center patients who had been involved in vehicle collisions who received standard care over those who received the brief intervention counseling sessions.

The found that those who received intervention reduced their alcohol use, injuries, vehicle accidents and arrests for driving under the influence.

The researchers found that patients who received standard care only at the trauma center were twice as likely to be charged with a DUI within three years of their visit to the center.

According to Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems at The George Washington University Medical Center, brief interventions "are a timely and easy method proven to be successful and cost effective. With alcohol related crashes costing about $51 billion in the US, these findings importantly prove brief interventions can combat future drinking and driving behavior. Saving both lives and money."

Source: Schermer, CR., Moyers, TB, Miller, WR, & Bloomfield, LA. (2006). Trauma center brief interventions for alcohol disorders decrease subsequent driving under the influence arrests. The Journal of Trauma, 60, 29-34.

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