As Prohibition ended in 1933 in the United States, there were still those who supported the movement. With what some saw as the need for continued regulation of the alcohol industry in the years following the repeal of the 18th amendment, newer, less strict laws and regulations came about. Perhaps the most prominent new laws of the years after Prohibition was repealed were the Alcohol Exclusion Laws. Created in the 1940’s, one of the major goals of these new laws was to encourage people not to drink and drive, and to punish those who did. This punishment came in the form of enabling insurance companies the right to refuse customers who were intoxicated at the time of their accident. The first problem with this, however, was that it was hard to determine if or how drunk a person was at the time of the accident, as these laws predated the invention of the breathalyzer. “Drunk driving combines two of America’s favorite pastimes: getting absolutely hammered and driving an automobile.”(PaleOfFuture) making those who drank and drove at the time pay larger medical and insurance rates, the laws sought to keep drunk drivers off of the road, to keep alcohol related accidents from occurring, and also to save money for insurance companies. These laws still remain part of modern day law, as many states still enable insurance companies the right to refuse service to alcohol related accidents.
Some of the debates that circulate these alcohol exclusion laws are that they are ineffective in actually being carried out. This is a result of hospitals bypassing the alcohol screening after incidents, in order to avoid patients who may evade their now un-insured payments, because of lack of funds. (Conan Law Firm) In other words, hospitals would avoid screening their patients, because most of the revenue of hospitals comes from insurance companies, who now had the right to refuse to pay alcohol related accidents. This was a transformative move, from the days of prohibition to the more progressive times. Instead of banning the complete use and trade of alcohol, the lawmaker rather chose to make it more difficult and risky to consume alcohol. These laws made the penalties for alcohol related accidents, whether it be a driving accident or just an ill decision because of intoxication, much more strenuous. In the days following prohibition, these laws were important in transitioning from a dry society, to a more regulated, safe drinking environment for Americans.
Novak, Matt. http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/drunk-driving-and-the-pre-history-of-breathalyzers-1474504117. web. accessed 4.23.15.