New Mexico's 1998 drive-up liquor window closure. Study I: effect on alcohol-involved crashes


Sandra C. Lapham
Behavioral Health Research Center of  the Southwest
612 Encino Place NE
NM 87102
Tel: 505 244 3099
Fax: 505 244 3408


Aims  To determine the spatial relationship between drive-up liquor window locations and alcohol-related traffic crashes for 2 years before and after New Mexico banned drive-through alcohol sales.

Design  Current liquor licenses, crash data, roadway information and US Census data were used in this analysis. Cross-sectional and longitudinal regression analyses were applied to the entire state, and to Albuquerque only.

Findings  Of all NM liquor licenses, 189 (9%) included drive-up sales, which co-occurred with on- or off-premise licenses (94%). The rate of non-pedestrian alcohol-related crashes relative to non-pedestrian total crashes showed an increasing trend prior to closure and a decreasing trend after the closure. Cross-sectional analyses in Albuquerque revealed that the percentage of alcohol-involved crashes was not related to densities of on- or off-premise outlets per kilometer of roadway, or to percentage of drive-up outlets. Statewide, the percentage of drive-up outlets was not significantly related to the percentage of alcohol-related crashes within census tracts but was associated positively with the percentage of alcohol-related crashes in surrounding census tracts. There was no statistically significant relationship between number of drive-ups and percentage of alcohol-related crashes in either longitudinal model.

Conclusions  Despite the declining rate of alcohol-related crashes following closure of drive-up liquor windows, both in Albuquerque and statewide, regression models using spatial data do not demonstrate definitively an association between the decline and the closure of the drive-up liquor windows.