Objective: To examine the proposition that antidrunk driving messages in the news media contributed indirectly to the decline in drunk driving over the past two decades through their impact on related policy making processes. Method: Time series regression techniques are applied to longitudinal data to examine the causal association between drivers' involvement in drunk-driving behavior, the volume of news coverage devoted to the drunk driving issue, and related policy making. Results: Results show a significant contribution of news coverage to drunk-driving-related policy actions, which in turn are associated with a reduction in drunk driving among young and high-risk drivers. There was no evidence of a direct causal association between news coverage and change in drunk-driving behavior. Conclusions: News coverage of alcohol-related risky behaviors seems to provide a cost-effective way of reducing the prevalence of these practices by attracting institutional attention and prompting related environmental changes. Future interventions may benefit from actively seeking to influence news coverage of risky behaviors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)