US laws against underage drinking save 732 lives annuallyApril 8th, 2009 - 2:59 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Apr 8 (ANI): State laws aimed at reducing underage drinking save 732 lives a year in the U.S., according to a study examining 23 years of research on the subject.
The study also found that the ‘use and lose’ laws- which prohibit people under the age of 21 from purchasing or possessing alcohol, and from driving with any alcohol in their system-could save 165 more lives, if adopted by all States in the country.
For their study, the researchers analysed data from 1982 through to 2004, using the Alcohol Policy Information System (1998-2005); the Digests of State Alcohol-Highway Safety Related Legislation (1983-2006); the Westlaw database; and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System data set (1982-2004).
Focussing on six key underage drinking laws and four general impaired-driving and traffic safety laws, the researchers found that the most significant impact came from four underage laws.
They discovered that three of the four more general laws that target all drivers were also effective in reducing drinking driver crash deaths for all ages.
These included laws that make it illegal to drive with over .08 blood alcohol content (BAC), suspend a license for exceeding the .08 BAC while driving, and enable a police officer to pull over a driver who was not wearing a seatbelt.
It was found that the direct effects of laws targeting drivers of all ages on adult drinking drivers aged 26 and older were similar.
But, the results were of a smaller magnitude compared to the findings for those aged 20 and younger.
“These results provide substantial support for the effectiveness of under age 21 drinking laws and point to the importance of key underage drinking and traffic safety laws in efforts to reduce underage drinking-driver crashes,” said James C. Fell, M.S., of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) in Calverton, Maryland.
According to the study, the two underage drinking laws-registering kegs and graduated licensing-have almost no impact on fatality rates.
While 44 states have laws that restrict young drivers with an intermediate license from driving late at night, Fell claimed that this had no clear effect on preventing underage drinking-related fatalities.
Last year, the researchers found that laws making it illegal to possess or purchase alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 had led to an 11 percent drop in alcohol-related traffic deaths among youth.
Also, they found that states with strong laws against fake IDs reported 7 percent fewer alcohol-related fatalities among drivers under the age of 21.
“People who want to lower the minimum drinking age say that the positive effects of raising it to 21 only took place in the 1980s and has since lost its impact. But we looked at these numbers over a 23-year period. This study shows the impact is still strong, and is keeping the numbers of underage drinking and driving deaths down-more so than if the drinking age is lowered,” said Fell.
The study has been published in the online version of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (ACER). (ANI)
- Alcohol-related traffic-risk behaviour worse at 21 years - Jun 01, 2010
- Risky alcohol-related driving behavior becomes worse at age 21 - Jun 01, 2010
- High gas prices lead to decline in traffic accidents - May 02, 2011
- Setting minimum drinking age of 21 helps save lives - Jul 01, 2008
- Drunk female offenders find solace in alcohol - May 26, 2011
- Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers declining: Report - Oct 25, 2010
- Alcohol behind rising toll of fatal car crashes involving young female drivers - Feb 18, 2010
- Kids offered alcohol by people other than parents '6 times likelier to binge' - Nov 08, 2010
- Drunken lasses cause more car crashes - Feb 18, 2010
- Increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages cuts disease, crime, death rates - Sep 24, 2010
- Being tired behind the wheel as bad as being drunk - Jan 20, 2011
- Lowering the drinking age won't college binge drinking: Study - Dec 11, 2010
- Alcohol outlets pave way for specific problems among youngsters - Dec 19, 2009
- Being tired behind the wheel as dangerous as being drunk: Study - Jan 20, 2011
- Why drunk drivers feel they are fit to get behind the wheel - Aug 18, 2010
Tags: 23 years, alcohol policy, analysis reporting system, blood alcohol content, calverton maryland, driver crashes, fatality analysis reporting system, focussing, highway safety, impaired driving, james c, kegs, pacific institute for research and evaluation, research and evaluation, state alcohol, study also found that, substantial support, traffic safety laws, wearing a seatbelt, westlaw