In 2011, Maryland legislators introduced a 50 percent increase in the sales and use tax on alcoholic beverages. The effect of alcohol policy on non-fatal traffic injuries is unknown, as studies have focused on fatal injuries. This study aims to assess the effects of 2011 alcohol policy on the occurrence of fatal, as well as non-fatal injuries.

The PI will investigate the effect of the new alcohol policy on traffic-related injuries among different groups through the use an interrupted time series design using data from police crash reports and medical records. The accessibility and availability of data at the individual level offers the unique opportunity to increase our understanding on the impact of the policy on different populations. Reduction of alcohol-related traffic injuries has remained stagnant in the past decade. The study results can inform policy-making and address a primary cause of injury in the United States. States have previously been unsuccessful at passing alcohol taxes. In 2010, among the 23 states who considered passing an alcohol tax policy, none were successful. Evaluating the effects of alcohol tax policy on fatal and non-fatal traffic-related injuries, which are preventable, will provide a broader understanding of the implications of the policy, potentially influence policy and improve public health.

This study was funded by a 2013 Dissertation Grant.

The PHLR Program