Drunk Driving Accidents in Hollywood and Other Cities May be a Greater Problem Than Suspected, New Studies Reveal
A new study led by Ralph Hingson of the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs and has found that drunk driving fatalities across the country may be underreported. Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and death certificates to check the blood alcohol levels of those who had been killed in traffic crashes between 1999 and 2009.
Researchers found a discrepancy. While data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 21 percent of those killed in collisions had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, only 3 percent of death certificates cited alcohol or drunk driving as a cause of death.
Part of the reason may be that it can take several days to get blood-alcohol tests completed while death certificates are usually filed within five days of a fatality. Another reason for the discrepancy may be that states have different rules about checking for drunk driving. Only about half of states automatically require checking blood alcohol levels after a fatal crash.
The research is interesting since it raises a question: are we underestimating the number of drunk driving accidents in Hollywood and other cities? If it takes some time to get blood alcohol testing complete, how accurate are reports about the number of serious DUI car accidents in Hollywood and other cities? Would more strict testing of all motorists involved in traffic collisions yield a more accurate picture about the real number of DUI car and truck collisions in Hollywood and across the state?
The researchers of this most recent study have stated that the underreporting is significant, since it can impact the number of prevention and educational campaigns created to combat drunk driving. If legislators knew how many young people were dying in these types of accidents, for example, this could change policies and DUI awareness campaigns as well as public focus on the issue. With accurate numbers, researchers say, it would also be easier to track how much DUI accident rates change over time.
In recent years, the focus has really been on distracted driving in Hollywood and across the country. However, this latest study suggests that the fight against drunk driving is still ongoing, with far too many motorists still ignoring the fact that drunk driving kills.