University of Florida researchers have deteremined that tougher punishments may not be effective in deterring people from driving drunk.

Increasing the minimum jail time keeps few drunken drivers off the road and doesn’t significantly prevent fatal car crashes, according to the study, published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

The researchers examined the changes in DWI laws and policies between 1976 and 2002. They also studied the rates of DWI arrests and fatal alcohol-related car crashes.

Alexander C. Wagenaar cq , lead author of the study and epidemiology professor in the UF College of Medicine, said researchers wanted to find out if stricter regulations deterred people from drinking and driving and if the number of accidents would drop in the population as a whole.

"We found out that’s not the case," he said.

James C. Fell, director of traffic safety and enforcement programs for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland, said on average, statistics show that a person drives under the influence 50 to 200 times before he or she is caught or gets into a crash.

I have said over and over and over, we must move our resources into education, rather than punishment.  Until the powers that be, the Legislature, figures this out, they will continue to increase punishments to no avail.  I was once told that the two areas that Legislators love to go home and tout, is tax cuts and being tough on crime.  Unfortunately, I guess that still holds true today.