Impact of a New Law to Reduce the Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit – A Poisson Regression Analysis and Descriptive Approach

Beatriz Nistal-Nuño


Background: In Chile, a new law introduced in March 2012 lowered the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for impaired drivers from 0.1% to 0.08% and the BAC limit for driving under the influence of alcohol from 0.05% to 0.03%, but its effectiveness remains uncertain. The goal of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of this enactment on road traffic injuries and fatalities in Chile.

Study design: A retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Data were analyzed using a descriptive and a Generalized Linear Models approach, type of Poisson regression, to analyze deaths and injuries in a series of additive Log-Linear Models accounting for the effects of law implementation, month influence, a linear time trend and population exposure. A review of national databases in Chile was conducted from 2003 to 2014 to evaluate the monthly rates of traffic fatalities and injuries associated to alcohol and in total.

Results: It was observed a decrease by 28.1 percent in the monthly rate of traffic fatalities related to alcohol as compared to before the law (P<0.001). Adding a linear time trend as a predictor, the decrease was by 20.9 percent (P<0.001).There was a reduction in the monthly rate of traffic injuries related to alcohol by 10.5 percent as compared to before the law (P<0.001). Adding a linear time trend as a predictor, the decrease was by 24.8 percent (P<0.001).

Conclusions: Positive results followed from this new ‘zero-tolerance’ law implemented in 2012 in Chile. Chile experienced a significant reduction in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and injuries, being a successful public health intervention.



Poisson; Public health; Blood alcohol concentration; Fatalities; Injuries

Full Text: PDF

JRHS Office:

School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Shaheed Fahmideh Ave. Hamadan, Islamic Republic of Iran

Postal code: 6517838695, PO box: 65175-4171

Tel: +98 81 38380292, Fax: +98 81 38380509