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Study: Maryland alcohol sales tax increase leads to decline in drunk driving crashes

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ABC 2, WMAR
March 27, 2017
Catherine Hawley

Alcohol-related crashes in Maryland have dropped by 6 percent thanks to the alcohol sales tax increased back in 2011, a new study says.

Researchers with the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found, “a significant reduction in the rates of alcohol-positive drivers involved in crashes resulting in an injury or fatality.”

The new study released Monday found a 12 percent reduction among drivers ages 15 to 34 years old. Researchers attribute the decline to young drivers being more sensitive to alcohol price.

While there were no changes among drivers ages 35 to 54 years old, the rate of alcohol-positive drivers over age 55 saw an immediate a 10 percent increase.

“We are thrilled to report that the 2011 alcohol sales tax increase has worked as we said it would to save lives by reducing harmful use of alcohol,” Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative said in a news release. “This new study shows conclusively that increasing alcohol sales tax reduced alcohol-related crashes, particularly among young people.  We hope other states follow our example to enact life-saving alcohol tax increases.”

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