Did liquor privatization increase DUIs and alcohol related arrests?

July 16, 2013

No. Based on the latest numbers, the alcohol infused Armageddon that we were warned about if voters approved I-1183 ending the state's nearly 80 year old-liquor monopoly was more of a scare tactic than based on the actual experience of the 33 states across the country with private liquor sales.

Here is data provided by the Washington State Patrol:

Does that mean we should rejoice at the still high number of alcohol related arrests and accidents? No, but maybe, just maybe, Washingtonians are a little more responsible than opponents of I-1183 gave them credit for.

Here are the most recent compliance check numbers provided by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

While the potential public safety problems of liquor sales privatization appear to have been oversold, the amount of revenue generated from private liquor sales was undersold.

Here are the updated state liquor tax collections according to the Department of Revenue.

Given then fact liquor tax revenues are exceeding expectations and remembering the state's notorious ranking for the highest liquor taxes in the country, lawmakers should revisit what the appropriate level of liquor taxes and fees should be.


DUI stats

You are aware, I hope, that correlation does not imply causation. Either direction.


As an owner of bars and restaurants all of which are going to be adversely affected by the continued effort to eliminate all drinking, I have some questions:

1) We may not have more DUIs after privatization, but are we going to have stricter laws now that the state isn't selling but only collecting taxes.
2) I have heard that any accident where one of the parties was drinking is listed as a Dui even though the drinking party was not at fault. If a drunk is driving legally through an intersection, but gets broadsided by a non drinker going through a red light, it would be considered a DUI accident?
3) How many deaths are caused by someone really drunk (say over 1.5) as opposed to those under say 1.0. Are there any statistics kept?


What is a "DM Arrest, Alcohol Related" and what is the significance of the small number trending upward?