Does California’s Statewide Ban on Smoking in Bars Prevent DUI Accidents?
If you travel across state lines, you will probably hear that Californians have a reputation for being health-conscious. Veganism and the keto diet, to name just two of many trends, were widespread in California when the rest of the country still regarded them as weird fads. It is unsurprising that California was the first state to impose a statewide ban on smoking in public workplaces. The original law, which went into effect in 1995, made an exception to allow smoking in bars, but then the law changed in 1998 to include bars in the ban. That means that there is nowhere in California where it is legal both to drink alcohol and to smoke cigarettes. Of course, these laws are good news for the lungs of California bar patrons everywhere, but do they also prevent drunk driving? A study about the relationship between smoking laws and DUI statistics suggests that California’s smoking laws, because they are uniform statewide, may reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. Of course, drinking in bars is still legal, and driving is still legal, so drunk driving is still possible. If drunk driving was a factor in the car accident that caused your injuries, contact a San Jose car accident lawyer.
Local Variations in Smoking Laws Lead to More Drunk Driving
Anne Burton, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University, recently published a paper reporting her findings on how smoking laws relate to the number of DUI accidents. She studied data from many states and found that, when a city or county issued a local ordinance banning smoking in bars, drunk driving accidents increased by an average of 4 percent. Burton hypothesized that the increase in DUI crashes after new smoking bans went into effect was not due to people drinking more at bars where they couldn’t smoke; they seemed to drink the same amount as they had before the smoking ban went into effect. The difference was that people who wanted to smoke in bars would drive a greater distance until they got to a bar that did allow smoking. Therefore, the drive home would be longer, which meant more opportunities for a DUI crash.
One way to avoid this increase in drunk driving accidents is simply to ban smoking in bars across the board, as California has done. The areas where Burton observed the uptick in DUI crashes were in states that do not have statewide bans. In those states, municipalities can make their own laws about whether to allow smoking in bars and under what conditions. The protection from drunk drivers that California’s statewide smoking ban offers is just one more reason to be thankful that you live in California.
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A San Jose car accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you have been injured by a drunk driver, regardless of whether they were driving home from a bar. Contact Solution Now Law Firm for help today.