ARTICLE: EFFECTS OF TORT LIABILITY AND INSURANCE ON HEAVY DRINKING AND DRINKING AND DRIVING * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1995 The University of Chicago 
The Journal of Law & Economics

ARTICLE: EFFECTS OF TORT LIABILITY AND INSURANCE ON HEAVY DRINKING AND DRINKING AND DRIVING *



* This research was supported in part by grant 5-R01-AA-08354, "Heavy Drinking and Drunk Driving: Which Deterrents Work?" from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. We thank former Vanderbilt University Health Policy Center research associate Penny B. Githens for her significant contribution in compiling data for this study and Frank Chaloupka, University of Illinois at Chicago, for providing a tape including data on some of the explanatory variables.

April, 1995

38 J. Law & Econ. 49

Author

FRANK A. SLOAN, Duke University and BRIDGET A. REILLY, Clinitrials Research Inc. and CHRISTOPH SCHENZLER, Vanderbilt University

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION
 
A MAJOR objective of tort law is to deter an accident by making the potential injurer liable for the victim's costs. There is a large body of theoretical research on the incentives that various legal rules provide to avoid accidents. By contrast, there is little empirical evidence on tort law's deterrent effects on accidents of any type. Automobile tort cases are the most common type of personal injury cases by far. 1 For this reason, and because data are available, when empirical evidence of tort laws' deterrent effects is cited, the references are usually to studies of automobile accidents. 2 Findings of these studies are largely inconclusive, perhaps because they have focused on outcomes of changes in liability rules rather than on the influence of such changes on care levels. Outcomes and care are plausibly related, but an outcome is a step removed from the care that potential injurers take.

One of the most egregious forms of reckless driving behavior is driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages (DUI). The probability of crash involvement rises dramatically with the percentage of blood-alcohol concentration. 3 Half or more of all motor vehicle fatalities have been attributed to alcohol use. 4 The emphasis of public policy against reckless driving in general and drunk driving in particular has been on criminal rather than on civil sanctions. The trend toward mandatory criminal sanctions reflects a belief that sanctions are more effective if punishment is certain. 5

Using self-reported data on patterns of alcohol ...
 
 
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