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Abstract

Nationally and at the state level policy makers are continually seeking ways to effectively deter drunk drivers and lower the risk and social costs they impose on society. Alcohol related accidents account for nearly $60 billion in damages in the United States each year. Montana is no exception to this problem. In 2008, Montana was ranked the deadliest state based on per capita Driving under the Influence (DUI) fatalities. To combat this issue Montana piloted the “24/7 Sobriety Program.” The predominant goal of the program was to increase the likelihood and severity of punishment for repeat offenders as well as to address the underlying issue of alcohol dependence and heavy drinking with forced abstinence, education and treatment. According to previous studies on DUI deterrence, increasing the risk of arrest and surety of penalty will increasingly deter individuals from driving drunk. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether Montana’s “24/7 Sobriety Program” is a more effective deterrent of drunk driving than previous Montana DUI policies. To answer this question a Differences-in-Differences regression analysis is conducted to compare the number of drunk driving arrests in Montana counties utilizing the “24/7 Sobriety Program” with those Montana counties not using the program so as to determine the deterrent effect of the program.

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Apr 15th, 4:40 PM Apr 15th, 5:00 PM

Is Montana’s “24/7 Sobriety Program” Deterring Drunk Drivers?

Nationally and at the state level policy makers are continually seeking ways to effectively deter drunk drivers and lower the risk and social costs they impose on society. Alcohol related accidents account for nearly $60 billion in damages in the United States each year. Montana is no exception to this problem. In 2008, Montana was ranked the deadliest state based on per capita Driving under the Influence (DUI) fatalities. To combat this issue Montana piloted the “24/7 Sobriety Program.” The predominant goal of the program was to increase the likelihood and severity of punishment for repeat offenders as well as to address the underlying issue of alcohol dependence and heavy drinking with forced abstinence, education and treatment. According to previous studies on DUI deterrence, increasing the risk of arrest and surety of penalty will increasingly deter individuals from driving drunk. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether Montana’s “24/7 Sobriety Program” is a more effective deterrent of drunk driving than previous Montana DUI policies. To answer this question a Differences-in-Differences regression analysis is conducted to compare the number of drunk driving arrests in Montana counties utilizing the “24/7 Sobriety Program” with those Montana counties not using the program so as to determine the deterrent effect of the program.