Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Raising alcohol taxes could save Maryland lives

The results of a new study show that increasing state alcohol taxes in Maryland and across the country could save thousands of lives each year. The report was recently published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers in the study found that deadly alcohol-related crashes dropped by 26 percent in Illinois after the state increased its excise tax on alcohol by an average of just a few pennies per drink in 2009. More impressively, deadly crashes involving young people dropped by 37 percent. The findings were calculated using detailed records from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The authors of the study looked at crash data in Illinois from January 2001 through December 2011 to see if the tax increase impacted alcohol-related accidents. Wisconsin fatal crash data was used as a control for the study.

Each year, there are approximately 10,000 deaths and half a million injuries caused by impaired driving in the United States. The researchers believe the relative affordability of alcohol is exacerbating the problem. For example, 10 alcoholic beverages a day would cost someone nearly half of their disposable income in 1950, while 10 drinks in 2011 would cost someone only 3 percent of their disposable income. The authors of the study believe deaths from alcohol-related crashes would drop nationwide if all 50 states agreed to increase taxes on alcohol.

Drunk driving accidents injure or take the lives of many Maryland residents each year. Anyone who has been injured or has lost a loved one to an accident caused by an impaired driver may wish to consult with an attorney to determine the remedies that may be available for recouping the losses that have been sustained as a result.

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