Study finds raising drinking age, cracking down on fake IDs mean fewer fatalities on the road
TUESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Tougher laws on underage drinking have reduced the rate of drunk-driving deaths in the United States, a new analysis concludes.
The study, funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, indicates that state laws which make it illegal to possess or purchase alcohol under the age of 21 have led to an 11 percent drop in alcohol-fueled traffic accident deaths among youth.
And states with robust fake ID laws on the books have experienced a 7 percent drop in alcohol-related car fatalities among drivers below the age of 21, the researchers noted.
"This study once again showed that the core laws that make it illegal for underage individuals to possess and purchase alcohol had a significant effect on underage drinking and driving fatalities," said study author James C. Fell, senior program director of traffic safety and enforcement programs with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, based in Calverton, Md.
The findings were expected to be published in the July issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.
The study authors pointed out that underage drinking legislation and ID rules vary by state. This is despite the fact that since 1988 -- following the passage of a federal law in 1984 that raised the minimum drinking age to 21 -- all states have enforced the two core laws that make it illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase and possess alcohol.
Some states have voluntarily established additional punitive measures to discourage underage drinking. For example, some target stores and/or adults that sell or give alcohol to minors, while others have lowered blood alcohol content (BAC) driving thresholds.
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