Research Reports

Evaluation of Minnesota's Operation NightCAP Program

Principal Investigator:

Janet Creaser, William Aflleje, Flavia Nardi

August 2007

Report no. MnDOT 2007-29

Projects: Evaluation of Minnesota's Operation NightCAP

Topics: Safety, Security

This project evaluated Minnesota Department of Public Safety's (Mn/DPS) Operation NightCAP (Concentrated Alcohol Patrol) Program. This overtime enforcement program uses saturation patrols to identify impaired drivers. The project consisted of 3 tasks: a crash data analysis, a driver survey and an officer survey. The crash analysis indicated that saturation patrols have a marginally statistically significant effect on the decrease in fatal and severe-injury alcohol-related crashes rates in Minnesota. The effect of a single saturation is small (~0.1%), indicating that many patrols would be needed to see significant decreases in alcohol-related crash rates. A survey of 5000 Minnesota drivers in 6 counties resulted in 838 completed surveys. Approximately 19% of Minnesota drivers are aware of the Program. Drivers' beliefs about impaired driving influenced their perception of alcohol-enforcement programs and their choices to drive after drinking. Fourteen Program Coordinators and 86 law enforcement officers from the Program also responded to a survey and shared their perceptions about the Program's effectiveness. Main conclusions drawn from the surveys were that saturation patrols are not highly visible to the public and the current Program advertising is not very effective in communities where it is active. Main recommendations are to improve patrol visibility and associated advertising.

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