Alcohol Consumption and Fatal Injuries in Australia Before and After Major Traffic Safety Initiatives: A Time Series Analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • The associations between population-level alcohol consumption and fatal injuries have been examined in a number of previous studies, but few have considered the external impacts of major policy interventions. This study aims to quantify the associations between per capita alcohol consumption and traffic and nontraffic injury mortality rates in Australia before and after major traffic safety initiatives (the introduction of compulsory seat belt legislation [CSBL] and random breath testing [RBT] in 1970s).Using data from 1924 to 2006, gender- and age-specific traffic and nontraffic mortality rates (15 years and above) were analyzed in relation to per capita alcohol consumption using time series analysis. The external effects of policy interventions were measured by inserting a dummy variable in the time series models.Statistically significant associations between per capita alcohol consumption and both types of fatal injuries were found for both males and females. The results suggest that an increase in per capita alcohol consumption of 1 l was accompanied by an increase in traffic mortality of 3.4 among males and 0.5 among females per 100,000 inhabitants and an increase in nontraffic mortality of 3.0 among males and 0.9 among females. The associations between alcohol consumption and fatal injury rates varied across age groups. The introduction of CSBL and RBT was associated with significant reductions in traffic crash mortality in Australia, particularly for males and young people.The magnitude and distribution of the preventive effects from the reduction in population drinking on fatal injuries vary across different gender and age groups, with the strongest preventive impacts on fatal injuries among people aged 15 to 29 and 70 years and above. The mechanisms behind these effects are unclear from this study, but are likely to be due to the strong association between per capita consumption and heavy drinking.

publication date

  • 2015