When people think of drunk driving and the tragic effects of drunk driving accidents, people are often thinking in terms of personal injury and loss of life. However, according to a recent news feature from Reuters, preventing or reducing the number of drunk driving car crashes may benefit the economy as well as preventing injury.
Over the past 30 years, we have experienced a significant reduction in the number of alcohol-related car accidents on a nationwide basis. A recent study on the economic effects of drunk driving accidents suggests this reduction may have actually benefited the national economy.
Researchers estimated with $200 million of annual (compounded) growth to the United States gross domestic product since 1986, around five percent of this growth can be attributed to a reduction in the amount of drunk driving car accidents during this period.
Some of the reasons suggested by researchers for this reduction are an increase in the use ignition interlock breath testing equipment and increased public awareness campaigns, coupled with increased fines and penalties.
While it may seem like there is no relationship between the number of people injured in alcohol-related car accidents and the amount of money spent on United States businesses, researchers responsible for this study believe there is a causal link. One example is, if a person is in a car accident and breaks his or her hand, he or she may need hand surgery. This leads to money paid out by insurance companies and a victim who misses a significant amount of time at work during treatment and recovery. This means employee will have less money and, therefore, spend less money on U.S. goods and services.
However, some critics of this study feel it does not take into account the full economic ramifications, as it mostly relies on surveys and anecdotal information. An example involving the same hypothetical would be if the car accident did not occur and there was no victim to need hand surgery, even though he was able to remain at work and have more money to spend on consumer goods, he might choose to buy a diamond ring which most likely would benefit another nation’s economy more than the United States GDP.
While there are variety of arguments that can be made regarding cause and effect, it seems clear there has been a reduction in the number of drunk driving crashes over the past few decades, and there has been an increase in the adjusted GDP, which are both good things.
However, as our Spartanburg traffic accident attorneys can explain, there are far more immediate consequences for victims of drunk driving accidents and their families than small fluctuations in the national economy over a 40-year period. For these victims and their families, they should consult with an experienced car accident attorney to increase their chances of obtaining a full and appropriate financial recovery as compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of consortium, special damages, and possibly punitive damages, if the facts of the case were particularly egregious.
Contact the Spartanburg, South Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Reducing alcohol-related car crashes may help economy , May 1, 2015, Reuters
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