Alcohol Taxes and Drunk Driving Fatalities

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Apr 06, 2015 in Car Accident News

Nevada residents will likely not be surprised to learn that approximately 10,000 people die each year on the nation's roads in accidents involving a drunk driver. Steps to curb drunk driving range from public awareness campaigns to stricter law enforcement, but a study recently published in the American Journal of Public Heath reveals that even a modest increase in alcohol taxes could also save lives. Illinois increased its alcohol taxes in 2009. The increase only added about 5 cents to the price of a drink, but crash statistics indicate that it reduced fatal DUI accidents in the state by 26 percent. Researchers also pointed out that even heavy drinkers seemed to be involved in fewer serious collisions after the tax increase was implemented. Many economists have been on record, however, as saying that raising taxes has little impact on the behavior of heavy drinkers. The study compared NHTSA data concerning car accidents in Illinois that occurred before and after the tax increase went into effect. Accident figures in Wisconsin were also studied to rule out factors such as weather conditions and safety programs that may also have contributed to a reduction in fatal drunk driving crashes. Wisconsin was chosen due to its proximity to Illinois and its unchanged alcohol taxes. While some may be reluctant to support any form of tax increase, they will likely agree that reducing fatal drunk driving accidents by more than a quarter is a benefit that warrants further examination. In addition to the criminal penalties that impaired drivers can face, a personal injury attorney could file a civil lawsuit against them on behalf of a client who has been injured in an automobile accident that the driver caused. If the drunk driver is killed in a collision, this litigation may be brought against their estate.