Significantly more likely to consider impaired driving
a crucial issue
BOZEMAN, Mont. (May 31, 2007) – A health promotion research group released two new surveys today that show significant differences between Montanans and Americans overall when it comes to impaired driving. According to a statewide survey, 94 percent of Montanans believe driving while impaired is a crucial issue, while a national survey reveals that only 88 percent of those surveyed across the country said the same.
Survey respondents also voiced clear election-time preferences: 6 out of 10 Montanans reported that they would only vote for a candidate for state legislature who supports increased and highly visible impaired driving enforcement.
“These survey results show that Montanans understand that driving drunk is a very serious problem,” said MSU research director, Dr. Jeffrey Linkenbach. “Our support of law enforcement is strong. We all – law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, legislators and the general public – must work together to eliminate all impaired driving in our state.”
Both telephone surveys were conducted by MOST of Us, a research institute based at Montana State University (MSU), under a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The statewide survey measured the attitudes of 404 randomly selected Montana adults toward impaired driving and the enforcement of impaired driving laws; the national survey reached 1,204 randomly selected adults in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Other findings from the surveys include:
• Ninety-one percent of Montanans and 92 percent of Americans describe themselves as supportive of law enforcement.
• Adult Montanans are statistically more likely to think that law enforcement officers are generally trustworthy and honest than are adult citizens nationally.
• Montanans are also more likely than their counterparts nationwide to think that the current impaired driving laws and penalties are not effective in deterring and punishing offenders.
• Sixty-three percent of Montana adults believe that if someone in their community were to drive while impaired, the chances are high that they would harm themselves, harm someone else or damage vehicles or property.
• Forty-five percent of Montana adults believe the chances are high that they or someone they care about might be harmed by an impaired driver.
The complete report comparing the two surveys is available online at mostofus.org.
About MOST of Us
MOST of Us (www.mostofus.org) is a health promotion research group located at Montana State University (MSU) that is pioneering the use of the social norms approach to build public and legislative support for impaired driving prevention strategies. This model of “social norms advocacy,” which examines the perceptions, opinions and behaviors that inform our daily behavioral choices and encourage people to make better, healthier decisions, will be tested in high-risk impaired driving states, beginning with Montana.