How Weak Public Policy Produces Violent Deaths in Mexico

The leading substance use-related cause of death in Mexico is smoking, which claims over 40,000 lives per year. But it is violent deaths, particularly among the young, which claim the most popular and media attention. We thus should be deeply concerned about the more than 24,000 violent deaths that happen each year in Mexico because of…

…traffic accidents. The Economist tells the surprising and sad tale about how an attempted solution for widespread corruption resulted in virtually no standards being set for drivers in much of the country, with deadly consequences.

Money quote:

Mexico was not always so freewheeling. Until the 1990s driving tests were near-universal, but it took unusual robustness of character to pass without paying a bribe. Rather than tackle corruption, some states simply abolished the test. Others followed suit in order to attract applicants (and income) from out-of-state residents.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.