Over the last several decades there has been a concerted effort by both public organizations and private advocacy groups to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving in the United States. The results of a recently published study may offer some unusual insight into ways to reduce drunk driving. According to the study, taxes may be the key to reducing the number of drunk driving deaths.
Researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville published findings recently in the American Journal of Public Health examining the result of 2009 tax increases on alcohol in Illinois, and the findings were startling. According to the researchers, the study suggests that raising the tax on alcohol reduces the number of drunk driving deaths.
In 2009, the State of Illinois boosted its excise tax on beer by 4.6 cents a gallon, on wine by 66 cents a gallon and on distilled spirits by $4.05 a gallon, or by one cent more that consumers pay per glass of beer or wine and nearly five cents more for a serving of spirits. The result was a 26 percent decrease in overall alcohol-related traffic deaths with an even stronger correlation among young people. Alcohol related traffic deaths among young people fell 37 percent that year. Furthermore, fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired and extremely drunk drivers fell 22 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
“Similar alcohol tax increases implemented across the country could prevent thousands of deaths from car crashes each year,” Alexander Wagenaar, a professor in the department of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida, said in a statement.
Detractors of the study point to the facts that alcohol-related traffic deaths were on the decline before the 2009 tax increase, arguing that the correlation may not be as strong as researchers claim. In fact, the largest annual decline since the turn of the century was the year before the tax increase, in 2008. Experts, including economists, have long argued that taxes and/or increased prices on alcohol are unlikely to impact heavy drinkers; although, the recent study appear to dispute that argument.
One thing everyone agrees on is that alcohol is much less expensive, relatively speaking, than it once was. In 1950, drinking more than ten drinks a day would have cost a drinker half his disposable income compared to just three percent of his income today.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska it is imperative that you contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.