Monday, January 02, 2012

Kansas Drunk Driving Fatalities

Letter just sent to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels concerning drunk driving deaths and a possible Indiana smoking ban:

Dear Governor Daniels,

Research from the University of Wisconsin has warned that strict smoking bans (ones that include bars) cause an increase in drunk driving fatalities. Please find this research attached. Researchers conclude:

"Using geographic variation in local and state smoke-free bar laws in the US, we observe an increase 
 in fatal accidents involving alcohol following bans on smoking in bars that is not observed in places 
without bans. Although an increased accident risk might seem surprising at first, two strands of 
literature on consumer behavior suggest potential explanations—smokers driving longer distances to 
a bordering jurisdiction that allows smoking in bars and smokers driving longer distances within 
their jurisdiction to bars that still allow smoking, perhaps through non-compliance or outdoor 
seating. We find evidence consistent with both explanations. The increased miles driven by drivers
wishing to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home 
following a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents. This result proves durable, as we 
subject it to an extensive battery of robustness checks."

Governor Daniels, Kansas imposed a strict smoking ban in 2010 and saw its number of drunk driving deaths soar 36 percent. 

The same thing could happen in Indiana if any smoking ban passed does not exempt "over 21" establishments. Please avoid this loss of life by exempting "over 21" establishments as does the current Tennessee smoking ban. Please find the Tennessee smoking ban attached.


Bill Hannegan
Home phone: 314.367.3779
Cell phone: 314.315.3779