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Drunk driving and the economy

Reductions in drunk driving crashes are pretty much always an incredibly encouraging trend. Such reductions can have many benefits. Some of the benefits are pretty obvious, such as that reductions in such accidents could mean that less people are being exposed to the possibility of suffering life-changing injuries at the hands of a drunk driver. Such reductions can also have some less apparent potential benefits. For example, a recent study indicates that reductions in drunk driving crashes may have some very positive economic effects.

The study looked at alcohol-involved crashes in the U.S. in the period between 1984 and 2010. The study found that such accidents trended significantly downward during this period.

The study then looked at the monetary effects that were connected to alcohol-involved crashes during this period to see if there were any economic effects the drop in such crashes was associated with.

The study’s findings suggest that the fall in these types of accidents was associated with multiple positive economic effects, including a boost in national income, a boost in national GDP and a boost in jobs. Overall, the study estimates the crash drop was associated with a $20 billion increase in the national economy.

Thus, it appears that drunk driving can potentially have a pretty big negative impact on an economy.

The human costs of drunk driving can be remarkably high and, as the study points to, so too can the economic costs. Thus, reducing the occurrence of this exceptionally dangerous and harmful type of driving behavior is very important. One hopes drunk driving accidents will continue to trend downward in upcoming years.

Why do you think drunk driving accidents have been going down in the nation over the past few decades? How common do you think drunk driving is here in Oklahoma? How big of an economic effect do you think this unsafe driving conduct has in the state? What things do you think could most help reduce drunk driving in the state in upcoming years? 

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Drop in Drunk Driving Crashes May Have Boosted U.S. Economy," Mary Elizabeth Dallas, April 30, 2015

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