Drunk driving contributes to as many as one- third of all motor vehicle accident fatalities every year. Clearly, there's more that we could do to help reduce the risk of impaired motorists endangering themselves, and other motorists on the road.
A new study finds that when alcohol taxes are increased, there is a reduction in drunk driving accident fatalities. A study reveals that when alcohol taxes in Illinois were increased, they led to a drop in alcohol-related car accident fatalities. In fact, researchers believe that if alcohol taxes were increased similarly across the country, they could contribute to a significant reduction in the number of people being killed in alcohol-related car accidents every year. The researchers believe that lawmakers’ policies reducing alcohol taxes actually facilitate an increase in accidents,
In Illinois, for example, there was a drop of 26% in alcohol-related car accident fatalities after the state moved to implement an increase in alcohol taxes. In fact, the drop in alcohol-related fatalities was the highest among younger drivers. Among motorists in this category, there was a 37 % drop in the number of alcohol-related car accident fatalities, after alcohol taxes were increased in the state.
These increased alcohol taxes came in 2009, when the state boosted taxes on beer by 4.6 cents per gallon, and taxes on wine by $.56 a gallon. Excise taxes on distilled spirits were increased by $4.05 per gallon.
The researchers do not claim that their study proves a cause-and-association relationship between higher alcohol taxes, and a reduction in the number of alcohol-related fatalities. However, they were able to point to a link between the two.