Tax Cuts on Liquor May Increase DUI Cases & Violations of the Law
Contributed to TLB and published by TLB Editor
Drunk driving claims over 10,000 lives each year with costs in death and damages reaching roughly $44 billion annually according to the NHTSA. The recent decision of Congress to cut taxes on alcohol does not help control drink driving with public health advocates arguing that booze will become cheaper and more accessible. While the slash in taxes helps startups and young companies establish themselves in the market, elsewhere, the implications of the tax bill have serious repercussions. Cheaper booze may encourage people to drink more, develop alcohol problems and promote drunk driving.
Rise in Alcohol Consumption
30% of Americans consume less than 1 drink a week while the top 10% or 24 million down an average of 74 drinks per week or 24 per day (Washington Post, 2014). Several studies have consistently shown that there is a positive correlation between alcohol price and consumption. Demand is linked to the price of the product. People are going to buy and consume more when alcohol becomes cheaper. They get more out of their money making it a natural response to purchase extra drinks as alcohol taxes are lowered. The above correlation is premised on the assumption that wine-makers and alcohol/liquor factories are going to reduce prices as duties go down.
Possible Accident Rates to Climb
Increased consumption of alcohol may increase the number of drunk driving cases and offenses related to booze. It is no brainer that alcohol impairs thinking and judgment, and affects reflexes making drunk drivers serious hazards on the road. Intoxication may also lead to aggression, violent behavior and disorderly conduct in public.
Cost to the Healthcare System
Road accidents due to DUI does not only mean increased needs for legal services such as a Phoenix DUI lawyer, the immediate impact of crashes and collisions are strains on medical and emergency services. Whether victims need surgeries, first-aid assistance, evacuation or repatriation for medical treatment, a surge in drunk driving incidences is going to burden the healthcare system on top of huge costs due to litigation and lawsuits brought by permanent or temporary disabilities.
Being involved in an accident due to drink driving also means loss of productivity due to absences to allow recuperation from injuries. Plus, there are traumatic consequences of accidents and collisions which contribute to the inability of a victim or perpetrator to return to work further diminishing labor productivity.
The tax break for the alcohol industry is valid up to 2019 after which lawmakers are going to review whether it will be extended or not. Until then, good judgment will hopefully prevail when it comes to increased alcohol consumption, driving and public behavior.
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