Home Emergency Medicine Fewer Drunk Driving Events Tied to Boost in U.S. Economy

Fewer Drunk Driving Events Tied to Boost in U.S. Economy

Savings from fewer medical bills, lower legal costs, lost productivity, and property damage

FRIDAY, May 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A dramatic drop in the number of alcohol-related car accidents over the past three decades may have helped fuel the U.S. economy, a new study suggests. The findings were published online April 29 in Injury Prevention.

To estimate the impact on the economy from car accidents involving alcohol, the researchers calculated the gains and losses tied to the significant drop in these accidents since 1984. For example, they calculated costs to employers and consumers from alcohol-related crashes, including medical and legal expenses as well as lost productivity, property damage, emergency response, and crash investigations.

The researchers suggested the dramatic decline in alcohol-related accidents led to a $6.5 billion increase in national income in 2010. The researchers also contended that the drop in alcohol-related crashes led to 215,000 new jobs. The reduction in alcohol-related car accidents also raised the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by $10 billion. Every one of the 25.5 million miles driven by drunk drivers in 2010 cost the economy an average of 12 jobs, reduced the national economic output by 80 cents, and cut the GDP by 40 cents, the researchers said.

Proven strategies to cut down on alcohol-related crashes include laws and added safety features, according to the researchers. They added that collision warnings and mandatory ignition interlocks for those previously convicted of drunk driving are other measures that have helped prevent car accidents involving alcohol.

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