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How Does Drunk Driving Impact the American Economy?

Any reduction in drunk driving and the accidents caused by impaired drivers makes the roads safer for all of us. However, it also improves the American economy according to a study on the economic impacts of drunk driving crashes.

A study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation looked at costs associated with drunk driving accidents, including medical care, property damage, productivity and emergency response. Researchers found that the number of accidents caused by impaired driving dropped by 50 percent between the mid-1980s and 2010.

Economic output rose by $20 billion, income by $6.5 billion, the gross domestic product (the value of finished services and goods) increased by $10 billion and 200,000 jobs were created. According to the lead researcher, "On average, each of the 25.5 billion miles Americans drove impaired in 2010 reduced economic output by $0.80." He notes that both employers and employers pay a price for car accidents, and that if the number of accidents is reduced, "[t]he related savings filter through the economy, impacting its performance."

Since more than 10 percent of all traffic accidents in this country were alcohol-related in 2010, the study predicted that all of those gains could have been doubled if those accidents had been prevented. Accidents caused by impaired driving overall cost more than $59 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, the cost of drunk driving accidents is much more personal to those who have been injured due to the actions of an impaired driver. These costs are not just physical and emotional, but financial. They can involve medical care, physical therapy and lost wages, just to name a few. That's why it's essential that those injured by a drunk driver look into their legal options for holding that driver responsible in civil court.

Source: dailyRx, "How Drunk Driving Could Affect the Economy," accessed Sep. 03, 2015

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