Fact of the Day: Liquor Safety and Government Control
Much of the discussion about ending government-run liquor stores in Pennsylvania is about safety—particularly alcohol related deaths and traffic accidents. But despite being among the states with the fewest liquor stores per person and being one of only two states with full government control over wine and spirits sales, Pennsylvania is not a leader in safety measures.
- Pennsylvania ranks higher than 5 of 6 border states, and near the U.S. average, in alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents.
- Pennsylvania ranks higher than 5 of 6 border states in the percentage of traffic fatalities related to alcohol use at 32 percent, identical to the U.S. average.
- The commonwealth has more alcohol-related traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents than four of six border states (slightly below U.S. average), and ranks above New York, West Virginia and Ohio—and the U.S. total—in alcohol-related traffic fatalities based on highway miles.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ranks Pennsylvania 30th in DUI safety, worse than all bordering state but Delaware.
|Alcohol Related Deaths||Alcohol Related Traffic Fatalities||MADD Ranking|
|State||Population||Total Alcohol Related Deaths (Avg. 2001-05)||Per 100,000 Residents||Number||% of total fatalities||Per 100,000 Residents||Hwy Miles||Per 1,000 State Hwy Miles||DUI-related accidents per capita|
|Sources: Alcohol Related Deaths: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DACH_ARDI/Default/Default.aspx;
Alcohol Related Traffic Fatalities: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811363.pdf;
Highway Miles: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2009/hm20.cfm;
MADD Rankings: http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/campaign/state-ranking/
|Prepared by Commonwealth Foundation, www.CommonwealthFoundation.org|
If state control of the sale of liquor resulted in greater alcohol safety, Pennsylvania should rank in the top two states in the nation in all of these measures. Instead, the state is somewhere in the middle-of-the-pack, or worse, among all states, and worse than most of our neighbors.