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 that 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

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.

Geography of Alcohol

Bromley, R. and Nelson, A. Alcohol-related crime and disorder across urban space and time. Geoforum, 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. Using Space. Critical Geographies of Drugs and Alcohol. London: Routledge, 2014.

Smith, C. and Hanham, R. Alcohol Abuse. Geographical Perspectives. Washington: Assn Am Geo,1982.

Lipton, R., and Gruenewald, P. 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 Found., 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.