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Research Letter
Pacific Coast Surgical Association
June 19, 2019

Use of a Statewide Public Health Tool to Estimate Miles Driven by Intoxicated Drivers

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, North Memorial Health Hospital, Robbinsdale, Minnesota
  • 2Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
JAMA Surg. Published online June 19, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.1720

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 37 133 motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States in 2017, of which 10 874 (29.3%) involved alcohol-impaired drivers.1 Trauma systems frequently care for intoxicated drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes; however, these drivers represent only a small fraction of those at risk. According to data from the early 1990s, the estimated distance traveled by intoxicated drivers was 9.7 miles (to convert miles to kilometers, multiply by 1.6)2; however, data on the empirical vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are lacking. Accordingly, this study used the Place of Last Drink (POLD) database,3 created by the Partnership for Change, to estimate the miles driven by intoxicated drivers.

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