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Monday, April 9, 2012

Reducing Drink Driving in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Challenges and Opportunities

A great deal of progress has been made in reducing alcohol-impaired driving crashes and the related injuries and deaths in countries around the world. Unfortunately, this progress has not been shared by many low- and middle-income countries.

In response to this disparity, a variety of international efforts have been undertaken, including the Drink Driving Initiative of Global Actions on Harmful Drinking, being carried out with a focus on 6 low- and middle-income countries where drink driving is a significant issue. These countries are China, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and Vietnam.

This article provides an overview of situational assessments that describe the current drink driving problems in these countries and the laws, policies, enforcement efforts, and public attitudes related to drink driving.

These descriptions show clearly that there are particular challenges faced by the countries discussed here. Some, such as a lack of reliable traffic safety data, are common to most of the countries. This lack of data may be interrelated with the lack of well-developed drink driving policies. Other challenges vary depending on the particular geographic, economic, cultural, and social situations in each country.

The assessments indicate the need for a focus on capacity building at the organizational and individual level in the target countries. The assessments also indicate that a long-term commitment to strengthening policies, implementation, and evaluation will be needed.

This deeper understanding of the situations in each of these countries is already being put to use in what we hope is the beginning of an important and lifesaving process.

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