Study shows that tougher alcohol access laws can save lives

A recent study has found that tougher alcohol sales laws lead to lower rates of drunk driving accidents.

A recent study has shown that when it comes to reducing drunk driving deaths, making alcohol tougher to access can make a meaningful difference. As CNN reports, the study found that every one percent increase in stricter alcohol sale policies leads to a one percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes. According to the researchers, such motor vehicle accidents decrease when measures such as higher alcohol taxes, restrictions on alcohol sales, and limits on home deliveries are adopted or toughened.

Making access tougher

The study focused on the effect that alcohol sales laws have on drunk driving accidents. Researchers at Boston Medical Center's Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit used data from more than 500,000 fatal accidents and compared that data to each state's number of alcohol policies. A scale based on 29 different policies helped determine what effect, if any, stronger alcohol policies had on each state's fatal crash rate.

For example, some policies included were false ID laws, limits on home deliveries, restrictions on hours of sale, Sunday sales laws, house party liability laws, open-container laws, and store licensing restrictions. Because some policies are considered more effective at discouraging drunk driving than others, each policy was given a different weight in the scoring. Alcohol taxes, for example, are particularly effective at reducing drunk driving crashes, thus states with higher alcohol sales taxes were given a higher score in terms of tough policies.

Tougher laws lead to fewer deaths

The study found that a one percent increase in the toughness of alcohol policies was correlated with a one percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes. The researchers concluded that if all states toughened their alcohol policies by just 10 percent, about 800 lives would be saved across the U.S. in a single year. The study even found that stronger alcohol policies reduced fatalities from crashes involving alcohol where the intoxicated driver had a blood alcohol limit below 0.08 percent.

Previous research has already shown that tougher DUI-specific laws are effective at combating drunk driving. As MADD reports, ignition interlocks, breath test refusal laws, child endangerment laws, and license revocation are all important measures for combating drunk driving. However, what the above study shows is that laws targeting the sale of alcohol can also have a significant effect on road safety.

Help for the injured

Those who have been hurt in an auto accident, especially if it may have been caused by a drunk or otherwise reckless driver, should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can assist clients with the claims process after an accident and possibly help them get the compensation they may ultimately be entitled to.