None for the Road? Stricter Drink Driving Laws and Road Accidents

Reducing drink drive limits is generally regarded as an effective strategy to save lives on the road. Using several new administrative data sources, this research project evaluated the effect of a stricter limit introduced in Scotland in 2014.

The project found that the reduction in the limit had no effect on drink driving and road collisions. Estimates from a supply-of-offenses function suggests that the reform did not have much ex-ante scope for sizeable effects.

The unavailability of cheaper alternative means of transportation and weak law enforcement seem to have been the main channels behind the lack of an impact. The project found no externality on a wide range of domains, from alcohol consumption to criminal activities other than drink driving.

Dr Jonathan James, Senior Lecturer, University of Bath

Dr Jonathan James is a senior lecturer at the University of Bath. He attained his PhD at the University of Essex and then was a post-doctoral fellow at the European University Institute (EUI).

His research interests are in the economics of health, education, and crime. His recent work has examined the impact of stress and health information on dietary choices, the effect of stricter drink drive laws on road collisions, the relationship between education and fertility decisions, and the impact of binge drinking on health and crime. He is also working on various issues related to road safety, hate crime and pollution.

He has published his work in the Economic Journal, the European Economic Review, the Journal of Health Economics, the Economics of Education Review, the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, PlosOne and Nutrition.