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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • drink-driving;
  • enforcement;
  • fatalities;
  • injuries;
  • law;
  • road traffic.

ABSTRACT

Aims  In Brazil, a new law introduced in 2008 has lowered the blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers from 0.06 to 0.02, but the effectiveness in reducing traffic accidents remains uncertain. This study evaluated the effects of this enactment on road traffic injuries and fatalities.

Design  Time–series analysis using autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) modelling.

Setting  State and capital of São Paulo, Brazil.

Participants  A total of 1 471 087 non-fatal and 51 561 fatal road traffic accident cases in both regions.

Measurements  Monthly rates of traffic injuries and fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants from January 2001 to June 2010.

Findings  The new traffic law was responsible for significant reductions in traffic injury and fatality rates in both localities (P < 0.05). A stronger effect was observed for traffic fatality (−7.2 and −16.0% in the average monthly rate in the State and capital, respectively) compared to traffic injury rates (−1.8 and −2.3% in the State and capital, respectively).

Conclusions  Lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit in Brazil had a greater impact on traffic fatalities than injuries, with a higher effect in the capital, where presumably the police enforcement was enhanced.