NYU Study Finds Strict Enforcement of Traffic Safety Laws Reduces Motor Vehicle Fatalities

A recent study by researchers at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development found that states with a higher number of alcohol and traffic laws tend to have less traffic fatalities than states with fewer such laws. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The NYU study examined a subset of 27 laws, which included child safety seat regulations, beer taxes, and mandatory fines for DUI violations. The study was comprehensive, analyzing these laws across all 50 states. Specifically, the researchers determined how many of these laws were adopted by each state between 1980 and 2010. The types of laws were chosen based on two criteria:

· The laws had to be aimed at changing individual behaviors with respect to either alcohol consumption or traffic safety.
· There had to be prior evidence suggesting that these types of laws might be effective at reducing preventable traffic-related deaths.

Although the average state had adopted less than eight percent of these laws in 1980, that number grew to 59 percent by 2010. Importantly, the significant increase in alcohol and traffic laws in some states corresponded with a significant decrease in the total number of deaths resulting from traffic accidents. States that had adopted most traffic safety laws saw a 14.5 percent decrease in their motor vehicle fatality rates for all ages.

Significantly, the NYU study also found that alcohol consumption was strongly associated with higher traffic fatality rates. This is important because more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired car crashes across the nation in 2012.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 33,561 people were killed on US roadways in 2012. This represented a three percent increase over 2011. In New York, there were 1,168 traffic fatalities last year. Driving has become more dangerous in recent years because of the prevalence of technology and a resulting increase in texting while driving. If you’ve been assessed a traffic violation or charged with drunk driving in New York, contact an experienced traffic defense lawyer at the Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC. Call for a free initial consultation: 866-642-3807.