Role of alcohol in US traffic deaths underreported: Study

Role of alcohol in US traffic deaths underreported: Study

61New York, March 24 (IANS) While injuries are found to be the leading cause of death for US citizens younger than 45, the role of alcohol that often lead to those injuries is vastly underreported in the country, a study claims.

Death certificates greatly underreported the role of alcohol in traffic deaths between 1999 and 2009.

“Whatever the reasons, the role of alcohol in injury deaths may be seriously underestimated on death certificates,” said Ralph Hingson of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

For the study, researchers focused on traffic deaths.

This is partly because many US states – about half right now – require that fatally injured drivers be tested for blood alcohol levels, and nationwide about 70 percent of those drivers are tested.

Hingson’s team used a database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which contains the blood alcohol levels of US citizens killed in traffic crashes.

They compared that information with deaths certificate data from all the US states.

They found just over 3 percent death listed alcohol as a contributing cause. But based on the FARS figures, 21 percent of those deaths were legally drunk.

The study appeared in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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