Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
 DOT HS 809 188
2. Government Accession No.
3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Age of Drinking Onset, Driving After Drinking, and Involvement in Alcohol-Related Motor Vehicle Crashes

5. Report Date
January 2001
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Hingson, R., Sc.D.; Heeren, T., Ph.D.; Levenson, S., M.Ed., M.P.H., Jamanka, A., M.P.H.; Voas, R. Ph.D.

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Social and Behavioral Sciences Department
Boston University School of Public Health
715 Albany Street, T 2W
Boston, Massachusetts 02118

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Program Development and Evaluation
400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Amy Berning was the Contracting Officer's Technical Representatives for this project.

16. Abstract

This study assessed whether persons who begin drinking at younger ages are more likely to report drunk driving and alcohol-related crash involvement over the life course, even after controlling analytically for diagnosis of alcohol dependence and other personal characteristics associated with the age respondents started drinking. A national survey conducted for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 1992, asked 42,862 respondents the age they started drinking, whether they drove after drinking too much, and whether they were in motor vehicle crash(s) because of their drinking. The current study found that, the earlier the age respondents started drinking, the more likely they were to report driving after drinking too much and being in a motor vehicle crash because of their drinking, even after adjusting for current/ever diagnosis of alcohol dependence and other characteristics and behaviors associated with the age respondents started drinking. Even among persons who were never alcohol dependent, those who began drinking in each age group under 21, relative to those starting at age 21 or older, were more likely to report "ever" and "in the past year" being in a crash after drinking too much. The traffic safety benefits of delaying drinking may extend well beyond the legal drinking age of 21.

17. Key Words

alcohol, drinking onset, driving after drinking, motor vehicle crashes

18. Distribution Statement

This report is available from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161 (703) 605-6000. It is also available, free of charge, on the NHTSA web site at:

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized