Dry County Alcohol-Related Traffic Crashes are Always Higher

A recovering alcoholic explains why dry county alcohol-related crash rates are higher than in wet counties.


Dear Dr. Hanson:

Just a note. Thank you for writing the article noting the effect of dry counties on alcohol-related traffic accidents. (Dry Counties Have Higher DWI Fatality Rates.)

dry county alcohol-relatedAs a long-term recovered alcoholic living in an Arkansas dry county, I can readily verify your view. Dry counties should cause MORE alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Of course they do – an alkie HAS TO DRINK. And if that means having to drive a long distance home after drinking in a wet county, so be it. A classic case of back-firing legislation.

Believe me, Dr. Hanson. Dry county legislation has NEVER caused a serious drinker to reduce his consumption of alcohol. On the contrary, he just has to drive farther to drink or stock up on his home supply.

Unfortunately there’s a religious element involved that can be difficult to argue with. But the facts as you wrote them just might penetrate.

Regards, and most sincere thanks,

N. H.

Resources: Dry County Alcohol-Related Traffic Crashes

Web Pages

Dry Counties. Prohibition Counties in the US Today.

Geography of Alcohol and Drinking

Dry Counties Have Higher DWI Fatality Rates

The Geography of American Binge Drinking.

From Genes to Geography. The Cutting Edge of Alcohol Research.

The Geography of Heavy Drinking, Mapped.

Distilled Geography. Europe’s Alcohol Belts.

Books & Articles

        Wet/Dry Effects

Gary, S., et al. Consideration of driver home county prohibition and alcohol-related vehicle crashes. Acc Anal Prev, 2003, 35(5), 641-648.

Winn, R. and Giacopassi, D. Effects of county-level alcohol prohibition on crashes. Soc Sci Q, 1993, 74, 783-792.


Bromley, R. and Nelson, A. Alcohol-related crime and disorder across urban space. Geofor, 2002, 33, 239-254.

Jayne, M., et al. Geographies of alcohol, drinking and drunkennessProg Hum Geo, 2008, 32(2), 247–63.

Moreno, C. and Wilton, R. Geographies of Drugs and Alcohol. London: Routledge, 2014.

Smith, C. and Hanham, R. Alcohol Abuse. Wash: Assn Am Geo,1982.

Lipton, R. The spatial dynamics of violence and alcohol outlets. J Stud Alco. 2002, 63(2), 187-195.

Shelton, N. and Savell, E. The geography of binge drinking. Health Place, 2011, 17(3), 782-792.

Valentine, G. et al. Drinking Places. Social Geographies of Consumption. York, UK: Rowntree, 2007.

Wieczorek, W. Using geographic information systems. In: Wilson, R., and Dufour, M., eds. Alcohol Problems in Small Geographic Areas. Collingdale. PA: DIANE, 2003, pp. 137-162.