Teenage Driver Fatalities Following Reduction in the Legal Drinking Age
Available data indicate that young drivers are more frequent victims of fatal crashes than drivers of any other age. There has been widespread public concern over the extent to which the use of alcohol may increase this hazard. In particular, lowering the legal drinking age in some states has engendered fears that youthful collision involvement, already excessive, will be inflated even further. About two years ago, Wisconsin law was changed from a local beer-only option (no restriction on alcoholic content) for 18 to 20-year-olds to statewide availability of all alcoholic beverages at age 18. The Wisconsin programme for mandatory blood alcohol testing of traffic fatalities provides an opportunity for comparing data gathered before and after this change and for assessing its effect on the role of alcohol in youthful drivers’ traffic fatalities.
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