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A tax hike on alcohol in Maryland suspected in accident reduction

A recent study published by researchers at the University of Maryland suggests that the state's raising of the sales tax on alcohol purchases in 2011 from 6-percent to 9-percent has had a significant impact on reducing the incidence rate of alcohol-related car accidents by at least 6-percent per year. They also determined that the most significant reduction was seen among younger drivers.

While the study's researchers suggest that the rates of alcohol-induced collisions would have gone down slightly irrespective of that tax rate hike, they maintain it wouldn't have dropped so drastically had it not been for the signing of the law. And, when it comes to the notable rate reduction among the population between 15 and 34, it's believed that their nearly 12-percent rate reduction can be attributed to their sensitivity to matters involving price.

As for the other age groups surveyed, the statistic for those who make up the Generation X demographic, or those between the ages of 35 and 54, remained the same when compared with previous years. As for drivers over 55, their rate of involvement in alcohol-related accidents increased by 5-percent from the rate it was prior to the tax rate hike.

Researchers with the university's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, who have been tracking the resulting trend, are unclear as to whether another rate hike would result an additional reduction in drunk driving accidents. Despite this, a representative with the Citizens' Health Initiative of Maryland suggests that there are no plans currently being considered by legislators to increase the tax again.

It's feared that an increase in the tax again would be detrimental to various businesses. Also unclear is whether the decrease in accidents is related to the tax or merely representative of a more generalized downward trend happening nationwide. As for the latter, it's suspected that a reduction in these fatalities is due to increased economic health, resulting in fewer drivers on the road and more disposable income.

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, an experienced Clinton, Maryland criminal defense attorney can provide advice in your legal matter.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Alcohol tax increase linked to drop in harm from drunk driving," Meredith Cohn, March 27, 2017

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