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Abstract

This paper estimates the relative risk of drunk-drivers causing a fatal accident using imputed values for BAC from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for three time periods. In addition, we develop an econometric approach that allows the decomposition of fatal accident risk into two components: the relative probability of a drunk-driver causing a serious accident and the probability of dying in a serious accident. Our results suggest that the relative risk of drunk drivers causing a fatal accident increased by approximately one-third from 1983-1993 to 2004- 2013. Further, the increase in relative risk was caused almost entirely by an increase in the relative risk of drunk drivers causing a serious accident. In contrast, the relative risk of a drunk driver dying in a serious accident was nearly unchanged. We also find that there has been a decrease in the incidence of drunk driving, as well as the external cost associated with drunkdriving.

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