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Do Stricter Penalties or Media Publicity Reduce Alcohol Consumption by Drivers?

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  • Anindya Sen

Abstract

A decline in drinking and driving could be due to stricter penalties as well as enhanced media publicity, which increases public knowledge of drinking and driving laws. However, most research fails to control for the effects of increased media coverage. Employing a unique dataset of the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of fatally injured drivers in Canada from 1982 to 1992, I find that both stricter penalties and an increase in the number of newspaper articles related to drinking and driving are significantly correlated with a reduced likelihood of exceeding the legal BAC limit of 0.08 percent. This is a consistent finding from different OLS regressions, and suggests that the enactment of sterner punishment must be supplemented with public education programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Anindya Sen, 2005. "Do Stricter Penalties or Media Publicity Reduce Alcohol Consumption by Drivers?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 31(4), pages 359-380, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:31:y:2005:i:4:p:359-380
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    1. Dee, Thomas S., 1999. "State alcohol policies, teen drinking and traffic fatalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 289-315, May.
    2. Anindya Sen, 2001. "Do stricter penalties deter drinking and driving? An empirical investigation of Canadian impaired driving laws," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(1), pages 149-164, February.
    3. Benson, B.L. & Mast, B.D. & Rasmussen, D.W., 1997. "Deterring Drunk Driving Fatalities: An Economics of Crime Perspective," Working Papers 1997_03_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    4. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1993. "Alcoholism, Work, and Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 494-520, July.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    6. Young, Douglas J. & Likens, Thomas W., 2000. "Alcohol Regulation and Auto Fatalities," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 107-126, March.
    7. Benson, Bruce L. & Rasmussen, David W. & Mast, Brent D., 1999. "Deterring drunk driving fatalities: an economics of crime perspective1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 205-225, June.
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    1. Anindya Sen & May Luong, 2008. "Estimating The Impact Of Beer Prices On The Incidence Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Cross-Province And Time Series Evidence From Canada," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 505-517, October.

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