Alcohol-Related Traffic Crashes: A Cause

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

Texas has more alcohol-related traffic accidents than any other state. Of course, it has more people driving more miles than almost any other state.

At the same time, California has a larger population driving more miles of driving than any other state, yet it has fewer alcohol-related crashes than Texas.

With its larger population, California should have more alcohol-related accidents than Texas. However, there’s one very important difference between the two states: Texas has a large number of dry (prohibition) counties whereas California has none.

Research has long demonstrated that the existence of dry counties increases alcohol-related automotive accidents and fatalities. For example, a recent study of about 39,000 alcohol-related traffic accidents in wet compared to dry counties in Kentucky found that a higher proportion of dry counties' residents are involved in such crashes.

The analysis suggests that residents of dry counties have to drive farther from their homes to consume alcohol, thus increasing impaired driving exposure.

Texas receives extra federal funding to permit it to clamp down on drunk drivers and is also dramatically increasing punishments in an effort to reduce DWI/DUI.

Perhaps it should also eliminate one of the causes of drunk driving -- dry counties.


References and Readings

filed under: Drinking and Driving

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