Alcohol Tax Increase May Reduce Car Crashes

According to a recent study, fatal alcohol-related car crashes went down by 26 percent after a 2009 alcohol tax increase in Illinois. The number of fatal alcohol-related crashes declined by 37 percent among younger drivers, and crashes involving impaired drivers declined by 22 percent after the tax increase. It is believed that similar tax increases in Pennsylvania and other states could save thousands of lives each year.

One of the reasons researchers believe that Americans consume large amounts of alcohol is because it is affordable. Alcohol much less expensive in 2011 than it was in 1950 when inflation is taken into account. In 1950, consuming 10 drinks or more a day would have cost an average person half of his or her disposable income. In 2011, it only cost 3 percent of an average person’s disposable income. While economists generally believe that heavy drinkers do not decrease their alcohol consumption due to higher alcohol taxes, the statistics reported on in this study seem to say otherwise.

Researchers used several controls to determine that tax increases were the reason why there were fewer alcohol-related crashes. Data was collected from a neighboring state in addition to the data collected in Illinois to come to this conclusion, and the broad reduction in accidents among all drivers was cited as further proof. However, the Great Recession may be a reason why the drop was larger than expected.

Those who may have been the victim of a drunk driving accident may wish to contact an attorney to determine the remedies that may be available. A personal injury lawsuit in some cases can be maintained against the owner of the establishment that served alcohol to the driver. Damages could include the cost of medical treatment as well as compensation for lost wages.