Alcohol Blue Laws Don’t Save Lives

Abolition of the Blue Law in New Mexico that had prevented the sale of packaged alcoholic beverages on Sundays was followed by a drop in both alcohol-related traffic crashes on  and  in alcohol-related traffic fatalities on  that day of the week.

Consider the facts:

  • The proportion of alcohol-related traffic fatalities on Sundays in New Mexico averaged 60% in the five years before the legalization of package store sales, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That proportion dropped to 47% in the five years following legalization, a decrease of over one-fifth.
  • The number of alcohol-related Sunday crashes averaged 502  for several years before the law went into effect but dropped to 438 for several years afterward, according to the Division of Government Research at the University of New Mexico.
  • There were 27 alcohol-related traffic fatalities on Sundays before the law went into effect, a number that dropped to 15 by the year 2000, according to the Division of Government Research.

A number of states have abolished their blue laws prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays. The result? “The states that have enacted Sunday sales laws report increases in revenues but no increases in drunk driving or underage drinking.” Sunday alcohol sales appear to be a win-win situation.

Permitting the sale of alcohol on Sunday, the second busiest shopping day of the week, increases tax revenues, but doesn’t increase either drunk driving or underage drinking.

Blue laws don’t save laws.


Filed Under: Drinking and Driving