Dead on Arrival: Zero Tolerance Laws Don't Work
37 Pages Posted: 5 May 2008
By 1998 all states 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 little or no effect on the level of fatalities, while further analysis reveals virtually no change in the distribution of fatalities by driver BAC.
Keywords: Zero tolerance, traffic safety, drunk driving
JEL Classification: I12, I18, K32
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