News Flash: Penalties Don’t Deter DUI

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on April 30th, 2007

I’ve argued ad nauseum in the past that the ever-harsher penalties successfully championed by MADD will have little if any impact on the incidence of either drunk driving or DUI-related fatalities. This has been borne out by federal statistics showing zero reduction in “alcohol-related” fatalities over the past ten years. See “Lies, Damned Lies and MADD Statistics”. Now the academics are beginning to point out the obvious:

Study: Penalties No Deterrent for Drunken Drivers

Gainseville, Florida – Tougher punishments may not be effective in deterring people from driving drunk, according to a study by University of Florida researchers.

Increases in the minimum jail time keep few drunken drivers off the road and don’t significantly prevent fatal car crashes, according to the study, published last week in the online edition of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

The researchers looked at the changes in laws and policies for driving under the influence between 1976 and 2002. They also studied the rates of DUI arrests and fatal alcohol-related car crashes.

Alexander C. Wagenaar, lead author of the study and epidemiology professor in the UF College of Medicine, said researchers wanted to find out if stricter regulations deterred people from drinking and driving and if the number of accidents would drop in the population as a whole.

“We found out that’s not the case,” he said.

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