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Drunk Driving Legislation and Traffic Fatalities: What Works and What Doesn’t?

By Donald Freeman


This paper re-examines the effectiveness of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and Administrative License Revocation (ALR) laws in reducing traffic fatalities. Using difference-in-differences estimators of U.S. state-level data with standard errors corrected for autocorrelation, we find no evidence that lowering BAC limits to 0.08 grams/decaliter has reduced fatality rates, either in total or in alcohol-related crashes. On the other hand, ALR is found to be an effective in reducing fatalities in all specifications. Endogeneity tests using event analyses indicate temporal causality of ALR laws.

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