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USA: Better Alcohol Laws Reduce Road Traffic Deaths

USA: Better Alcohol Laws Reduce Road Traffic Deaths

In U.S. states with the most comprehensive and evidence-based laws to discourage regulating alcohol, fewer children and teens were killed in car crashes, a new study shows.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Stronger alcohol policies prevent motor vehicle crash deaths, but studies to date have examined only single policies rather than the overall alcohol policy environment. Half of motor vehicle accidents that claim the lives of children and teens in the United States are fueled by alcohol, the researchers noted.

Of the nearly 85,000 kids and teens killed in car crashes in the United States between 2000 and 2013, 28% involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. About half the children died in crashes where the driver had any alcohol in his or her system, according to the study.

But the states with the strongest alcohol regulations saw a 9% decrease in child and teen crash deaths.

To reduce alcohol-related crash deaths among youth, it is important to strengthen policies that focus on adults, not just youth, and that focus on [alcohol use], not just driving,” said senior study author Dr. Tim Naimi, an alcohol epidemiologist at Boston University’s School of Medicine.

The study concluded that more restrictive alcohol policies are associated with reduced alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes mortality among young people.

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