ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The message is clear: drunk-driving is not only dangerous, it’s often deadly. Each week, law enforcement agencies across the country attribute hundreds of deaths to drunk driving. However, the number of deadly crashes caused by intoxicated drivers has dramatically decreased since the mid-1980’s.
In an analysis published in Injury Prevention, researchers estimated the number of alcohol-fueled car crashes was cut by about 50 percent between 1984 and 2010. Researchers calculated the economic costs associated with these kinds of crashes using a complex formula that took several factors in account.
For example, car crashes can cause significant financial losses for people and companies but the research authors said it can also benefit certain businesses:
“In general, a reduction in traffic injuries benefits employers by reducing their costs, but the extra medical cost from injuries provides extra sales to the health care sector, which in turn, means more sales for industries that provide supplies and services to the health care sector.”
After crunching the numbers, the analysis revealed the reduction of deadly, drunken crashes saved the U.S. economy $20 billion and increased national income by $6.5 billion. Fewer crashes also created 215,000 new jobs and raised the gross domestic product in the U.S. by an estimated $10 billion.
“Serious crashes can take hard-working and intelligent members of society away from their families and careers. That lost time could have drastic financial impacts for cities like Rochester,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When a serious crash can be avoided, that person saves their job and their wages; and the government can continue collecting taxes, which adds to the overall economic impact.”
Although the number of alcohol-related crashes have been drastically cut, nationwide legislation continues to aim toward a goal of having zero crashes.
The authors of the analysis concluded, “the next major step forward in the USA, now implemented in more than 10 states, is thought to be mandatory installation of ignition interlocks in cars driven by people with impaired driving convictions.”