Injured by a drunk driver in Georgia? The financial downturn may be to blame.
Since 2006, drunk driving deaths have been declining. In 2006, 13,491 Americans died in alcohol-impaired car crashes. By 2009, the number of DWI deaths had dropped 20 percent to 10,839. The numbers seemed to confirm research that showed that people are less likely to drink in a declining economy. These studies proposed that when consumers have less money to spend, there is a decrease in drinking as people budget for necessities instead of alcohol. A new study turns these previous assumptions upside down.
Researchers from the Health Economics Research Group at the University of Miami found that risky and excessive drinking behaviors actually increase during an economic downturn. When unemployment levels rise, rates of binge drinking, drunk driving and alcohol dependence also increase - and not just among those who are unemployed. People with jobs are also more likely to drink irresponsibly.
In this study, researchers analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The information was collected between 2001 and 2005 and included surveys of 34,120 individuals representing the American population. The participants were asked about their alcohol consumption. The results were correlated with state unemployment rates.
Unlike other studies, this study focused on alcohol abuse and dependence as well as risky drinking behaviors such as binge drinking and drunk driving. Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as the drinking of a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. For men, this is considered four drinks in about two hours and for women, three drinks in the same amount of time.
The researchers found that as unemployment rates rose, occurrences of alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, binge drinking, and drunk driving also increased. The increase was seen in both men and women, as well as in all ethnic groups.
The greatest increase in binge drinking was seen in African Americans and in young people between the ages of 18 and 24. The greatest increase in drunk driving was among whites and middle-aged adults, ages 25 to 59. Even participants who still had a job showed an increase in alcohol abuse and risky drinking behaviors. Researchers note that job stress and fear of losing one's job may also cause stress.
Tough economic times aren't expected to be ending soon. Financial stress is not a good reason to behave irresponsibly. If you or your loved one was injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver in Atlanta, you deserve accountability. Atlanta auto injury attorney Shane Smith can help.
Shane Smith is dedicated to representing Georgia DUI victims. He can help you and your family seek justice for your loss. To learn more, request a copy of Shane Smith's book I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith and ask to a schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta auto injury attorney.