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Reducing drunk driving with taxes

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2015 | Car Accidents |

California motorists might be interested in learning more about researchers’ claims that the fatalities and injuries caused by driving while intoxicated may be reduced by increasing taxes on alcohol. After Illinois increased state taxes on alcohol in 2009, fatal car accidents involving alcohol declined 26 percent. The number of crashes involving drivers classified as being extremely drunk declined by 25 percent, while the number of crashes by drivers impaired by alcohol declined 22 percent.

Among younger drivers, the state tax allegedly helped lower the rate of fatal crashes involving alcohol by approximately 37 percent. A University of Florida professor claims that similar measures in other states have helped save thousands of lives across the country. Alcohol is currently attributed to approximately 500,000 injuries and 10,000 fatalities on U.S. roadways every year. Researchers contend that the affordability of alcohol helps contribute to the prominence of these costly incidents.

The Illinois tax increased costs for the end user by 4.8 cents per serving of spirits, .5 cents on a glass of wine and .4 cents on a glass of beer. Researchers speculated that the new taxes combined with the effects of the Great Recession may have been the cause for such a drastic decline in the rate of alcohol-related crashes. During the 1950s, drinking more than 10 alcoholic drinks per day accounted for about 50 percent of a person’s disposable income, but under the suppressed taxes of the current era, that same number of drinks now accounts for about 3 percent of disposable income, according to data from 2011.

Legal counsel may be able to assist people injured in car accidents caused by drunk drivers. In order for a plaintiff to receive compensation for damages, their lawyer will have to show that the defendant was responsible for causing the crash. In drunk driving cases, legal counsel may focus on gathering evidence to prove that the defendant was engaged in driver negligence.

Source:, “Fewer Fatal Car Crashes When Alcohol Taxes Go Up,” Elizabeth Hillaker Downs, April 1, 2015