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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

News Release: Higher beer taxes, 21 drinking age reduces traffic deaths of young people, study finds Communities with weak existing alcohol-control policies have most to gain

BERKELEY – Communities with few alcohol regulations could consider raising taxes on beer as a way to reduce drunken driving fatalities among young people. Alcohol-control policies such as the minimum legal drinking age and raising beer taxes have helped prevent youth access to alcohol and the problems of underage drinking. However, a recent study found that communities with limited alcohol regulation could expect the greatest benefits from establishing new alcohol-control policies. The effectiveness of any particular policy depends on what other policies are also in place.

“Our findings suggest that communities that have been historically reluctant to regulate alcohol availability currently have the most to gain from implementing any given alcohol policy initiative,” said William R. Ponicki, M.A., lead author of the study and a researcher at PIRE’s Prevention Research Center in Berkeley. “The study confirms earlier findings regarding the importance of alcohol policy in preventing alcohol-related problems such as traffic crashes. But it also shows that a community should look at the whole picture.”

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