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Alcohol taxes can impact alcohol-related accidents

A study published in the "American Journal of Public Health" in October 2014 on the correlation between an increase in alcohol taxes and a decrease in fatal accidents may be of interest to residents of Ohio. The study found that after the state of Illinois increased alcohol taxes on beer, wine and spirits in August 2009, the number of accidents involving alcohol went down by 26 percent overall.

The decrease in car accidents in Illinois was notable among young people, for whom car accidents went down 37 percent during the time following the alcohol increase. A professor at the University of Florida predicts the low cost of alcohol could have an impact on consumption and driving behaviors as 10 alcoholic drinks a day would have cost most people half of their disposable income in the 1950s and would have only accounted for around 3 percent of most incomes at the time of the study.

According to statistics from the Ohio Department of Public Safety for 2013, alcohol was involved in 274 fatal vehicle crashes and 5,036 crashes involving injuries. The researchers in the study on Illinois laws argue that the number of crashes in other states, such as Ohio, could potentially go down with a marked increase in alcohol taxes.

When a fatal car accident leaves family members without their loved ones, the surviving spouses, children or parents may be entitled to damages for funeral costs, burial expenses, loss of support or inheritance and emotional anguish. A personal injury attorney may be able to assist family members in reaching a settlement. If the case goes to court, the lawyer could potentially show liability on the part of the other driver based on police records, crime scene reconstructions or witness testimonies.

Source: Ohio Department of Public Safety, "Traffic Crash Facts 01/01/2013 to 12/31/2013," John Born, May 15, 2014

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