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NHTSA: Drinking and Driving

About This Policy
Data on a Specific Date
Changes Over Time
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Expander Policy Description

 (Period covered: 1/1/1988 through 1/1/2003)

Policy Description

The comparison tables in this section present information drawn from the NHTSA Digest [1] for the years 1988 through 2003, which is the latest year for which a Digest has been published. With the exception of Open Containers of Alcohol in Motor Vehicles, there are currently no APIS policy topics corresponding to the Drinking and Driving policies presented here. The APIS Policy Topics section of the APIS Web site includes information on Open Containers of Alcohol in Motor Vehicles for the period 1/1/1998 through the current endpoint.

The information appears in the NHTSA Digest under the headings shown below.

Laws Prohibiting (1) the Possession of Open Containers of Alcoholic Beverages and (2) the Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages in the Passenger Compartment of a Vehicle

  • Open Container Law
  • Anti-Consumption Law

Adjudication of DWI Charges

  • Pre-Sentencing Investigation Law (PSI)

Other State Laws Related To Alcohol Use

  • Laws Requiring BAC Chemical Tests on Persons Killed in Traffic Accidents


[1] U.S. Department of Transportation Information, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Digest of Alcohol-Highway Safety Related Information, Volumes 5 to 15.

Expander Explanatory Notes and Limitations

The following notes are provided to help APIS users interpret material from the NHTSA Digests of State Alcohol-Highway Related Legislation that has been posted on the APIS Web site. 

1.       The information presented in the comparison tables for this section of the APIS Web site has been copied directly from NHTSA Digests by APIS staff without further analysis or review of the underlying legal research. Legal citations and notes are presented as they appear in the Digests and do not conform to citation conventions used elsewhere on this Web site.

2.       State law may permit local jurisdictions to impose requirements in addition to those mandated by State law. Alternatively, State law may prohibit local legislation on this topic, thereby preempting local powers. The NHTSA Digests do not document policies established by local governments.

3.       Although some of the NHTSA Digest topics address the same subject matter as APIS policy topics, the Digest and APIS use distinct coding methods, definitions, and quality assurance procedures. Data from the two resources should not be combined without taking these differences into account.

4.       The NHTSA Digests do not provide effective dates for policy enactments. If a policy became effective at any time in a given year, it is shown as in effect as of January 1 of the following year without additional detail. 

5.       In some instances, differences between the data for a State from one year to the next may result from modifications of NHTSA's research methodology over time rather than actual changes in the law. 


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy