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Drive Further for a Drink

If you ask me, providing a city with less liquor licenses as a DWI prevention tactic is illogical (subscription):

Lopez said he was hoping to use the quota system to slow the migration of liquor licenses from rural to urban and resort areas while he assessed the impact of liquor license density on drunken driving accidents and fatalities.

“My charge when I was appointed by the governor was to do something about the DWI problem from the supply side,” Lopez said. “I want to make health and safety concerns, for instance the impact on DWI accidents in an area, one of the main considerations for deciding whether a license should be able to move to a location.”

People who drink and drive are not going to do so less because they have to drive further to find an establishment with a liquor license. Instead, they are more likely to be behind the wheel as they travel to get their next drink.

If you really want to get people off the road, you would have more urban drinking holes, not less. This way, people can walk to their neighborhood bar and then walk (or stumble) home instead of getting behind the wheel of a car.

And make no mistake, liquor licenses limits are about one thing, and one thing only, raising money for state coffers:

According to department records, two licenses in Las Cruces sold for $600,000 each. Elsewhere, at least one has sold for $400,000, and others sell in the $350,000 price range.

“The price of liquor licenses was growing steadily,” Lopez said. “When we see a license sale for $600,000, I believe the day of a $1 million liquor license can’t be far off.”

What a racket!