Increased police patrols may prevent alcohol-impaired driving

Clinical question: 
How effective are increased police patrols for preventing alcohol-impaired driving?
Bottom line: 
Most studies found increased police patrols reduced traffic crashes and fatalities. Evidence for the effect on traffic injuries was less consistent. Existing evidence, although supportive, does not firmly establish whether increased police patrols, implemented with or without other intervention elements, reduce the adverse consequences of alcohol-impaired driving.
Caveat: 
The detail provided on the methodology of included studies was almost uniformly poor. When this information was reported, the methodological quality was often weak. Methodological limitations included inadequate sample size, dissimilar baseline measures, contamination, and inadequate data analysis. Nearly three-quarters of the studies had at least one methodological limitation which could affect their results.
Context: 
Road traffic injuries cause 1.2 million deaths worldwide each year. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of traffic crashes, especially fatal crashes. Increased police patrols aim to increase both the perceived and actual likelihood of being caught driving while alcohol-impaired, potentially reducing alcohol-related driving, crashes and injuries.
Review CD#: 
CD005242
PEARLS No: 
136
Date: 
February, 2009
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy