Evidence on effectiveness

Drink-driving legislation, such as per se laws outlawing driving while at or above a defined blood alcohol level, has been shown to be effective in changing behaviour and reducing rates of alcohol-related problems. (113 !4) The effect is through both general and specific deterrence. The quickness and certainty of punishment, as well as its severity, are important in the deterrent value (too much severity tends to undercut its quickness and certainty). Drink-driving is an ideal area for applying general deterrence, since the gains from breaking the law are limited, and drivers typically have something to lose by being caught.

Many English-speaking and Scandinavian countries have had a tradition of criminalizing drinking in public places or public drunkenness as such, but the trend has been to decriminalize public drunkenness. Though there are few specific studies, criminalizing public drunkenness may not be very effective in changing the behaviour of those who have little to lose.

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