Researchers, including one currently at the University of South Carolina, have published a study that suggests a link between smoking bans and drunk driving fatalities.

The authors attribute that to people driving to places without a ban, and also to driving farther to find a place within a ban area that has an outdoor smoking accommodation, such as a patio.

“The increased miles driven by drivers who wish to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home after a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents,” the study says.

The results can be looked at two ways:

  1. No smoking bans. Putting these people on the road for a longer stretch of time is too dangerous. Let them do what they want to do (smoke) when they want to do it (in a bar).
  2. More smoking bans. The problem is that smoking bans aren’t prevalent. If you make it enough of an inconvenience, the smoking drunks will just stay home or get over their issues with going outside to light up.

Hat tip to TPS for the heads up.