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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • BAC;
  • cross-cultural exchange;
  • deterrence;
  • drunk driving;
  • enforcement;
  • law;
  • technology transfer;
  • traffic

ABSTRACT

While individual studies from several South American countries have shown driving while intoxicated to be a problem, there are no objective systematically collected alcohol-associated driving data obtained in most South American countries. This limits their ability to implement and enforce targeted prevention strategies, evaluate whether proven prevention efforts from North America (particularly the United States and Canada) can be transferred to the South, and to sustain momentum for the improvement of road safety by demonstrating that previously implemented legal and policy changes are effective. The aim of this paper is to discuss the abysmal differences that exist between northern and southern American countries regarding the current status of driving while intoxicated prevention strategies—their implementation, impacts and effects—using Brazil as a case example. We propose a three-pronged approach to close this northern–southern American gap in driving while intoxicated prevention and intervention: (a) systematic collection on road traffic crash/injury/death as well as risk factor data, (b) passage of laws without loopholes requiring compliance with blood alcohol concentration testing and (c) provision of appropriate training and equipment to the police in concomitance with vigilant enforcement. Resources and energies must be put towards data collection, implementation of prevention strategies and enforcement in order to decrease the unacceptably high rates of these preventable driving while intoxicated deaths.