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Dead on Arrival: Zero Tolerance Laws Don’t Work

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  • Darren Grant

    () (Department of Economics and International Business, Sam Houston State University)

Abstract

By 1998 all states had passed laws lowering the legal blood alcohol content for drivers under 21 to effectively zero. Theory shows these laws have ambiguous effects on overall fatalities and economic efficiency, and the data show they have little effect on driver behavior. A panel analysis of the 1988-2000 FARS indicates that zero tolerance laws have no material influence on the level of fatalities, while quantile regression reveals virtually no change in the distribution of BAC among drivers involved in fatal accidents.

Suggested Citation

  • Darren Grant, 2007. "Dead on Arrival: Zero Tolerance Laws Don’t Work," Working Papers 0708, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:shs:wpaper:0708
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shsu.edu/academics/economics-and-international-business/documents/wp_series/wp07-08.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rosen, Sherwin & Rosenfield, Andrew M, 1997. "Ticket Pricing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 351-376, October.
    2. Dills, Angela K. & Jacobson, Mireille & Miron, Jeffrey A., 2005. "The effect of alcohol prohibition on alcohol consumption: evidence from drunkenness arrests," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 279-284, February.
    3. Jeffrey Grogger, 2004. "Time Limits and Welfare Use," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    4. Darren Grant, 2007. "Optimal Drunk Driving Penalty Structure," Working Papers 0707, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    5. Richard Guy Cox, 2006. "A perverse effect of lowering the threshold blood alcohol content," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(13), pages 869-871.
    6. Carpenter, Christopher, 2004. "How do Zero Tolerance Drunk Driving Laws work?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 61-83, January.
    7. Darren Grant & Stephen M. Rutner, 2004. "The effect of bicycle helmet legislation on bicycling fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 595-611.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2001:91:5:801-804_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lan Liang & Jidong Huang, 2008. "Go out or stay in? The effects of zero tolerance laws on alcohol use and drinking and driving patterns among college students," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1261-1275.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Friedman, David & Sjostrom, William, 1993. "Hanged for a Sheep--The Economics of Marginal Deterrence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 345-366, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bellou, Andriana & Bhatt, Rachana, 2013. "Reducing underage alcohol and tobacco use: Evidence from the introduction of vertical identification cards," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 353-366.
    2. Huber III Arthur & Newman Rebecca & LaFave Daniel, 2016. "Cannabis Control and Crime: Medicinal Use, Depenalization and the War on Drugs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-35, October.
    3. Grant, Darren, 2016. "The essential economics of threshold-based incentives: Theory, estimation, and evidence from the Western States 100," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 180-197.
    4. Richard Guy Cox & Darren Grant, 2017. "Traffic Safety and Human Capital," Working Papers 1701, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    5. Darren Grant, 2010. "The Simple Economics of Thresholds: Evidence from the Western States 100," Working Papers 1004, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
    6. Christopher S. Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin & Casey Warman, 2016. "The Mechanisms of Alcohol Control," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 328-356.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Anderson, D. Mark & Rees, Daniel I., 2012. "Per Se Drugged Driving Laws and Traffic Fatalities," IZA Discussion Papers 7048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. 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.
    11. Freeman, Donald G., 2012. "Is Beer Safer than Spirits? How the Change in Consumption Shares of Alcoholic Beverage Types Affects Traffic Mortality in Young People," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 61(4).
    12. Anderson, D. Mark & Sandholt, Sina, 2016. "Booster Seats and Traffic Fatalities among Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10071, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Fidel Gonzalez & Troy Quast, 2011. "Macroeconomic changes and mortality in Mexico," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 305-319.
    14. Erik Nesson & Vinish Shrestha, 2016. "The Effects of False Identification Laws with a Scanner Provision on Underage Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities," Working Papers 2016-17, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2016.
    15. 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.

    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
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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