Study Quantifies DUI Reduction During COVID Lockdown Period

DocWireNews reported recently on a new study published in Forensic Science magazine by authors Juan C Apodaca, Robert A Desharnais and Lennert J Mitchell Jr that studied the incidence of driving under the influence on Los Angeles County roadways during the safer-at-home orders put in place during the initial COVID-19 lockdown period of March and April 2020, determining that there was a significant decrease in DUI activity during the lockdown period due to both the reduction of cars on the road and the closure of many bars and liquor stores deemed inessential businesses.  

The abstract of the article laid out the parameters of Los Angeles County’s DUI situation, listing a population size of 10 million with an additional 471,000 who commute into Los Angeles County for employment, leading to a situation where many drivers are exposed to potential encounters with intoxicated drivers. With a safer-at-home order issued in Los Angeles County on March 19, 2020, the study evaluated and compared breath tests conducted in March and April 2020 versus breath tests conducted in January and February 2020, as well as those conducted in the same two periods in 2019, using appropriate statistical methodology. 

The study authors found a statistically significant decrease for the period of March and April 2020 that correlated with the safer-at-home order not only in breath tests, but in the number of collisions where DUI was a factor. They also found a decrease in the number of tests conducted per miles driven, even accounting for the changes in traffic volumes. The study provided useful data for determining effective anti-DUI policies.

The original article can be found utilizing the following citation: J Forensic Sci. 2021 Feb 16. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14687. Online ahead of print.

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