Deterring Drunk Driving: Why Some States Go Further Than Others in Policy Innovation

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 May 17;16(10):1749. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16101749.


Policy innovation and diffusion studies have, since 1990, generally focused on a specific policy over time. Yet, few studies have considered if and why states adopt related multiple policies-a package of reforms-in a policy area. Are more innovative states in DUI policy likely to adopt a comprehensive set of policies or use them as substitutes for each other? In this study, we assess how overall state innovativeness relates to the adoption of sixteen DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws. We find that state innovativeness in traffic safety policies (but not overall policy innovativeness), organizational size, and professionalism of a state highway department increase the likelihood that a state will adopt a more comprehensive bundle of DUI laws. Furthermore, we also test whether institutional or competitive bandwagon effects are found across this policy area and demonstrate that national institutional bandwagon effects are an important factor related to the increased comprehensiveness of state adoption of DUI policies.

Keywords: DUI (Driving under Influence); bandwagon effect; comprehensiveness of state policy adoptions; state innovativeness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Driving Under the Influence / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Public Policy*
  • United States