Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on April 1st, 2015,
by Zane Cagle

Increasing Alcohol Taxes Decreased Illinois Fatal Car Crashes

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by Zane Cagle

drunk driving car crashesIncreasing state alcohol taxes could prevent thousands of deaths a year from car accidents, say University of Florida researchers.

Study Examined Alcohol Tax Increase in Illinois

Fatal alcohol-related car crashes declined in Illinois by 26 percent after a 2009 increase in alcohol tax.

Alcohol-related crashes account for almost 10,000 deaths and half of a million injuries every year in the United States.

In August of 2009, Illinois increased the excise tax on beer by 4.6 cents per gallon, wine by 66 cents per gallon and 4.05 cents on distilled spirits per gallon.  If one assumes the complete tax cost is passed onto the consumer, that would result in a .4 cent increase in a glass of beer, a .5 cent increase per glass of wine and a 4.8 cent increase per single serving of spirits. Researchers in the study collected and analyzed detailed records of crashes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from January 2001 to December 2011.

Therefore, they looked at 104 months before the tax was enacted and the 28 months after the tax was enacted to see the effects on the tax change according to  a driver’s age, gender, race and blood alcohol concentration at the time of the fatal motor vehicle crash.

“What is unique (about this study) is that we identified that alcohol taxes do in fact impact the whole range of drinking drivers, including extremely drunk drivers, “Wagenaar said. “This goes against the conventional wisdom of many economist, who assert that heavy drinkers are less responsive to tax changes, and has powerful implications for how we can keep our communities safer”.

Researchers at the University of Florida found and confirmed that the decrease in crashes was due to the tax change, not other factors. American Journal of Public Health (abstract)

Great Recession- Results paxil online no prescription Contradict that Heavy Drinkers Ignore Tax Rises on Alcohol

The researchers controlled for other factors that can impact motor vehicle crashes such as traffic safety programs, weather and economic conditions by comparing the number of alcohol-related fatal crashes in Illinois with those unrelated to alcohol during the same time period as well as alcohol-related fatal crashes in Wisconsin, which did not change its alcohol tax. Results confirmed the decrease in crashes was due to the tax change and not other factors.

Tax or No Tax, Driving While Impaired is a Choice

alcohol taxesWe all make choices, daily.   If a small tax increase really has such a big significance on the reduction of fatal crashes, it seems very difficult to not get behind this kind of tax increase.  It seems more sensible to raise taxes on alcohol than for necessities such as milk, break and produce.

Honestly, we each make a choice to drink alcohol. We may like it, but it is not required for life.

Fatal car crashes are a serious issue in our country.   Those are 10,000 deaths that are potentially completely avoidable as well as another half million avoidable injuries.

If you have been involved in a car crash  involving alcohol, you will need an expert car accident attorney.  Specifically, if you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone drinking and driving, you will need a personal injury attorney. While the drunk driver may face criminal charges, their sentence is very highly unlikely ever able to come close to the medical bills and lost wages you may endure due to a car crash.

If you have been in a car accident, speak with one of our attorneys seven days a week, at (314) 276-1681