Alcohol related road deaths are under reported

Alcohol related road deaths are under reported

This clearly begs the question; why?

A March 2014 U.S. study published in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs has found that data culled from a National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) database (which contains the blood alcohol levels for Americans killed in car crashes), was very different to the official number of alcohol-caused traffic accident deaths as stated on death certificates throughout the U.S.

Why on earth would these be so different?

  • Between 1999 and 2009, only 3% of death certificates issued nationwide for traffic deaths listed alcohol as a contributing factor
  • Between 1999 and 2009, 21% of the 450,000 people killed in traffic accidents were legally drunk

The bottom line is that many States in the U.S. do not test the blood of traffic accident victims therefore excluding any evidence that they were drunk at the time.

“What we hope we would do is draw attention to this issue and have states work on developing the types of medical examiner systems and policies that would create more comprehensive testing so we could get a better picture of [what the] magnitude and trends of these problems are.  Surprisingly, about half of all states don’t require blood alcohol testing for drivers killed in accidents.  That’s unfortunate, because we lose valuable information due to that policy.  Of those states that do test, about 70% of deceased drivers end up actually being tested.  We need to have a handle on what’s contributing to the leading cause of death among young people.  You want to know how big the problem is, and if we can track it.  Is it going up, or going down?  And what policy measures are working?”
Ralph Hingson, U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

As reported by on March 31, 2014.


Posted: Monday 21 April 2014