The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation,
Treasury and General Government
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The Conference Report accompanying the Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriation Act, 2004, Public Law 108-199 (January 23, 2004), requested the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

to submit a report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, no later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act, detailing strategies and activities that will be utilized in fiscal year 2004 with regard to targeting specific populations in impaired driving efforts, as proposed by the Senate. H.R. CONF. REP. No. 108-401, at 969 (2003).

The Committee report on the Senate’s proposal stated:

 The Committee strongly believes that NHTSA must continue to vigorously pursue strategies to reduce impaired driving among the age groups and ethnic populations that represent the highest risk. Within the funds provided for NHTSA’s impaired driving program, the Committee includes $1,000,000 to increase the outreach efforts within these targeted populations. Further, the Committee directs NHTSA to report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, no later than 90 days after enactment of this act, detailing the strategies and activities that will be utilized. S. REP. No. 108-146, at 78 (2003).

This letter comprises our report. Teenage and young adult drivers, particularly ages 18-34, are at greatest risk of being involved in an alcohol-related fatal crash. More than 80 percent of the drivers in these fatal crashes are male. In addition, some ethnic populations are overrepresented in alcohol-related fatalities. While 41 percent of all fatalities are alcohol-related, the percentages of fatalities that are alcohol-related among American Indians, Hispanics and Blacks in 2001 were 63, 50, and 43 percent, respectively.

In FY 2003, with support from funds appropriated by Congress specifically for this purpose, the agency conducted a number of activities to address these at-risk populations. In particular, advertisements were developed specifically for a young male audience age 18-34 and aired nationwide. In addition, a range of strategies that focus on 21-34 year olds were developed and tested. These include: a program designed to impact policies and practices of retail alcohol outlets serving 21-34 year old drivers, combined with a public education program that focused on 21-34 year old patrons of restaurants and bars; a safety-training module designed for “blue-collar” workers; brief intensive media campaigns in cooperation with grassroots community efforts marketing strategies to increase utilization of safe ride programs; and an educational program in coordination with law enforcement agencies that trains industrial safety officials to implement alcohol safety education in the workplace. The agency also worked with other government agencies and with national organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Indian Education Association and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to deliver programs that are culturally sensitive and will effectively reach at-risk ethnic populations.

Within the enacted funding for FY 2004, the agency will disseminate information regarding the strategies that were developed to focus on 21-34 year old males, and will continue to work with national organizations and other government agencies to deliver programs to reach at-risk ethnic populations (see enclosure).

With the additional $1,000,000, the agency plans to complete the projects mentioned above that focus on 21-34 year olds, replicate the most promising strategies in additional locations throughout the country, with a preference given to States with high alcohol-related fatality numbers and/or rates, and evaluate the results. In addition, the agency plans to continue its most effective strategies, identify additional needs and develop a strategic plan to more effectively reach this age group and ethnic groups that are at highest risk.

An identical letter has been sent to the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and General Government; the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations; and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.

Enclosure

 

 

Section 403
Impaired Driving Program Activities Directed at High Risk Populations FY 2004

CATEGORY SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES JUSTIFICATION OF PORGRAMS ACTIVITIES FY 2004 FUNDING
Congressionally-Directed Activity

Replicate the most promising strategies implemented in FY2003 in additional locations throughout the country, with a preference given to States with high alcohol-related fatality numbers and/or rates, and evaluate the results. In addition, the agency plans to develop a strategic plan to more effectively reach this age group and ethnic groups that are at highest risk.

Strategies to be replicated include:

A college campus based program focused on affecting behaviors motivated by perceived peer pressures.

A program designed to impact policies and practices of retail alcohol outlets serving 21-34 year old drivers, combined with a public education program focused on 21-34 year old patrons.

Brief intensive media campaigns in cooperation with grassroots community marketing strategies to increase utilization of safe ride programs.

Innovative strategies are necessary to address the range of factors affecting the behavior of high risk populations. Among these factors is the tendency for individuals to align their own actions with the behaviors they perceive among their peers. Another factor is the individual sense of responsibility to adhere to community expectations as evidenced by public policies and enforcement. Behavior change efforts are more effective if they are directed at known motivational factors for the specific audience being addressed.

$1,000,000

Other Planned Outreach and Technical Support Focused on High Risk Populations

Collaborate with national organizations representing diverse populations and other high-risk groups and provide technical assistance for activities in support of impaired driving priorities, including high visibility enforcement, adjudication, and screening and brief intervention. Activities include assistance to support enforcement crackdown efforts, promotion of improvements in adjudication, adoption of screening by health care providers serving high-risk populations, and delivery of programs for hard to reach populations, including youth, Hispanics, American Indians, males age 21-34 and repeat offenders.

Current plans include working with: MADD, LETN, SADD, youth organizations, National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco, National Indian Education Association, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment Administration, Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management, Network of Employers for Traffic Safety.

Social marketing research indicates that messages directed to the intended demographic are more effective at influencing behavior than generalized messages. Efforts are data driven and tailored to those most at risk for death and injuries from motor vehicle crashes, and those most likely to drink and drive. $1,498,000