The More You Know: Dry Counties Don’t Stop DWIs

DWI in dry countiesIf you have ever lived in a place that doesn’t sell alcohol, you probably know more ways to actually GET a six pack or bottle of vodka than your average alcohol consumer. It can be tricky living in a dry county – not tricky enough to keep you from drinking, but enough incentive to mastermind a plan for getting that beer for the big game. If you’re smart, you’ll just buy what you need and head home, where you will responsibly drink and not get back on the road. Unfortunately, not everyone plans that far ahead, which is why dry counties have higher rates of drunk driving than those without prohibition-era restrictions on alcohol sales.

In a dry county, people are more likely to travel to a bar or restaurant in a “wet” county where they can drink to excess and then drive home under the influence of that binge. That’s a DWI recipe for disaster, despite the best intentions of alcohol-free policies.

33 states in the U.S. have dry localities or communities, including Arkansas, that can prohibit the sale of alcohol. Arkansas also does not sell beer or wine on Sundays, across the state. Other states, like Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee start out on the “dry” end of the spectrum, with each country able to decide its ability to sell alcohol. The structure of dry county laws gives the control to the people who live there, making it difficult to understand why, if there are more DWIs in those areas, the sale of alcohol couldn’t be legalized. Less road to travel after drinking reduces the risk of a tragedy, and when alcohol is close by, more people are likely to drink at home.

You may feel it is unfair that your county doesn’t sell alcohol, and that you have to drive such long distances to get your buzz on. But, that isn’t any excuse to drive while intoxicated. Dry counties still have DWI laws and consequences like ignition interlock devices for drunk drivers. The smartest plan you could make when masterminding your alcohol run is to do so safely, without driving yourself across the county lines and into a dangerous DWI situation.

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