The impact of raising the minimum drinking age on driver fatalities

David P. Mackinnon, J. Arthur Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Time series analysis was used to obtain statistical tests of the impact of raising the drinking age on monthly driver fatalities in Illinois, Michigan, and Massachusetts. A control series design permitted comparison between younger drivers (21 or less years) and older drivers (25 and older) within states where the minimum drinking age was raised. Since the two groups share the same driving conditions, it was important to demonstrate that any reduction in fatalities was limited to the young age group within which the drinking age change occurred. In addition, control states were selected to permit a comparison between driver fatalities of the young age group (21 or less) in states with the law change and young drivers in states without the law change. Significant immediate reductions in fatalities among 21 and younger drivers in Illinois and Michigan were observed after these states raised their minimum drinking age. No significant reductions in any control series were observed. A linear decrease in young driver fatalities was observed after the drinking age was raised in Massachusetts. There was also a significant linear decrease in young driver fatalities in the Connecticut control series, perhaps due to increasing awareness among young drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1338
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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