In a newly published article in Addiction, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit associate director Aruna Chandran, MD, MPH, along with Flavio Pechansky, MD, PhD from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, examine the disparity that exists in northern and southern American countries with regard to drinking and driving prevention strategies.
In “Why don’t northern American solutions to drinking and driving work in southern America?,” the researchers—using Brazil as a case example for southern American countries—explore why such a disparity exists.  The paper highlights examples and experiences from the North American countries of the United States and Canada—where DWI trends have been known for decades and the association between alcohol consumption and increased road traffic crashes has been well-established—in comparison with Brazil, a country that is still struggling to provide baseline data.
This lack of objective, systematically collected alcohol-associated driving data limits both the ability to implement and enforce specific prevention strategies and determine if proven prevention efforts from North America can be transferred effectively to the south.
In the paper, the Dr. Chandran and her colleagues in Brazil proposed a three-pronged approach to address the north-south gap: 1) systematic collection of data on road traffic crash/injury/death rates as well as risk factor data 2) passage of laws (within a framework that prevents legal circumventing of punishment) that requires blood alcohol concentration testing compliance and 3) stipulation of appropriate training and availability of proper equipment to the police along with vigilant enforcement.
It is the researchers' hope that lessons learned from North American countries can be applied to lower-performing countries in South America.
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