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Drunk Driving Legislation And Traffic Fatalities: New Evidence On Bac 08 Laws

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  • DONALD G. FREEMAN

Abstract

This article reexamines the effectiveness of blood alcohol content (BAC) laws in reducing traffic fatalities. Differences‐in‐differences estimators of U.S. state‐level data with standard errors corrected for autocorrelation show no evidence that lowering the BAC limits to 0.08 g/dL reduced fatality rates, either in total or in crashes likely to be alcohol related, or in states that passed BAC 08 in laws either in advance of or in response to federal pressure. Other legislations, including administrative license revocation and primary seat belt laws, are found effective in reducing fatalities in all specifications. Endogeneity tests using event analyses confirm the differences‐in‐differences estimates. (JEL I18, K32)

Suggested Citation

  • Donald G. Freeman, 2007. "Drunk Driving Legislation And Traffic Fatalities: New Evidence On Bac 08 Laws," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 293-308, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:25:y:2007:i:3:p:293-308
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00039.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2007.00039.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Dee, Thomas S. & Grabowski, David C. & Morrisey, Michael A., 2005. "Graduated driver licensing and teen traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 571-589, May.
    5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    6. A. Craig MacKinlay, 1997. "Event Studies in Economics and Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 13-39, March.
    7. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
    8. R. Kaestner, 2000. "A note on the effect of minimum drinking age laws on youth alcohol consumption," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 315-325, July.
    9. Thomas S Dee, 2001. "Does setting limits save lives? The case of 0.08 BAC laws," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 111-128.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, D. Mark & Rees, Daniel I., 2012. "Per Se Drugged Driving Laws and Traffic Fatalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7048, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Darren Grant, 2010. "Dead On Arrival: Zero Tolerance Laws Don'T Work," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 756-770, July.
    3. Ullman, Darin F., 2016. "Locked and not loaded: First time offenders and state ignition interlock programs," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Jeffrey A. Miron & Elina Tetelbaum, 2009. "Does The Minimum Legal Drinking Age Save Lives?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 317-336, April.
    5. Hjalmarsson Randi & Lindquist Matthew J., 2010. "Driving Under the Influence of Our Fathers," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, November.
    6. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin & Homer, Jenny F., 2009. "Public policies and motorcycle safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 831-838, July.
    7. Richard Guy Cox & Darren Grant, 2017. "Traffic Safety and Human Capital," Working Papers 1701, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    8. Anderson, D. Mark & Rees, Daniel I., 2015. "Per se drugged driving laws and traffic fatalities," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 122-134.
    9. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin & Homer, Jenny F., 2012. "Motorcycle fatalities among out-of-state riders and the role of universal helmet laws," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1855-1863.
    10. Wright, Nicholas Anthony & Lee, La-troy, 2017. "New Evidence on the Casual Effect of Traffic safety Laws on Drunk Driving and Traffic Fatalities," MPRA Paper 82730, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. D. Mark Anderson & Benjamin Hansen & Daniel I. Rees, 2013. "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 333-369.
    12. Grant, Darren, 2016. "A structural analysis of U.S. drunk driving policy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 14-22.
    13. Donald Freeman, 2012. "Income and Preventable Mortality: The Case of Youth Traffic Fatalities," Working Papers 1201, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law

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