Tighter Alcohol Policies Cut Alcohol-Related Crash Deaths

Consumption-oriented policies effective independent of driver-oriented policies.
Consumption-oriented policies effective independent of driver-oriented policies.

HealthDay News — Strengthening state alcohol policies can reduce alcohol-related crash fatalities, according to a study published online May 29 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Timothy S. Naimi, MD, MPH, from Boston University, and colleagues examined the association between the restrictiveness of state alcohol policy (1999 to 2014) environments and the likelihood of alcohol involvement among those dying in motor vehicle crashes (2000 to 2015) in the United States. 

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The researchers found that over the study period there were 505,614 adult motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States, of which 35.4% were alcohol related. For each 10-percentage point increase in the Alcohol Policy Scale score (more restrictive state policies) there was a reduced individual-level odds of alcohol involvement in a crash fatality (adjusted odds ratio, 0.90). The results were similar for most demographics and crash types. Consumption-oriented policies were independently protective for alcohol-related crash fatalities (adjusted odds ratio, 0.97), when accounting for driving-oriented policies.

"Strengthening alcohol policies, including those that do not specifically target impaired driving, could reduce alcohol-related crash fatalities," the authors write. "Policies may also protect against crash fatalities involving blood alcohol concentration levels below the current legal limit for driving in the United States."

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