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Changes in Alcohol-Related Travel Behavior due to an Under 21 Ordinance


Alcohol abuse is one of the major leading causes of preventable mortality in the United States. Binge drinking or excessive alcohol consumption, categorized as a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration to 0.08, has become a major cause for concern, especially in the 18 to 20 year old population. Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa, a large public university of 30,000 students. On June 1, 2010 the city council enacted a new ordinance prohibiting persons under 21 from entering or remaining in bars (establishments after 10:00 PM whose primary purpose is the sale of alcoholic beverages) after 10:00 PM. Prior to the ordinance, Iowa City was the only municipality in the region where underage patrons were allowed on premises. The new ordinance was enacted largely in response to public safety concerns, including perceptions of increased violence and sexual assaults, especially at bar closing time.

Our hypothesis is that the under 21 ordinance also resulted in changes to travel behavior, where prior to the ordinance, the campus bar culture constituted an "attractive nuisance," attracting a volatile mix of college students and non locals of all ages.



To study alcohol-related arrests during the time surrounding the introduction of an alcohol-related ordinance in the Iowa City, IA area.

Submitted by elamb on