Extended Alcohol Sales Haven't Increased Alcohol-Related Crashes

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

Arizona law recently extended alcohol sales from 1:00 am to 2:00 am and permitted patrons to continue drinking for 75 minutes longer than before (from 1:15 until 2:30 am).

Supporters of the legislation, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Tourism Alliance, said extending the hours of alcohol service would be desirable for two major reasons. First, it would reduce the number of impaired and intoxicated drivers who were on the road around 1:00 am when moviegoers and many others are returning home. Second, it would benefit the very important hospitality industry.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other opponents insisted that the new law would lead to increased drunk driving and more alcohol-related traffic accidents.

The results of the extended alcohol sales? Reports by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control have been obtained by the Associated Press. They indicate that the extended service has shifted many alcohol-related crashes and DUI arrests to a later hour but has not increased their numbers.

In the words of the Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “It appears that the extended drinking hours have not led to any additional DUI arrests or alcohol-related crashes.”

The results of later closings or “last calls” for alcohol in Arizona are consistent with that reported elsewhere.

 

References and Readings

filed under: Drinking and Driving

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