Slippery When Wet: The Effects of Local Alcohol Access Laws on Highway Safety
This paper examines 237 instances of policy changes related to alcohol sales and consumption enacted in Texas communities between 1975 and 1996 to determine their effect on the incidence of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. These policies are categorized by location where the alcohol is consumed after sale (on the premises or off) and the type of alcohol available for consumption (beer and wine or hard liquor). After controlling for both county and year fixed effects, we find evidence that (i) the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises (in bars and restaurants) is associated with a sizeable increase in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, (ii) the sale of alcohol (in liquor stores) for consumption off the premises may actually decrease expected accidents, and (iii) the sale of higher proof alcohol (hard liquor) presents greater risk to highway safety.
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