LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska”s capital city ranks lowest among 107 cities in the nation for incidents of alcohol-related traffic deaths, while Detroit has one of the highest rates, according to the results of a study released yesterday.
Detroit had 8.22 deaths per 100,000 residents from 1995 through 1997, according to the Louisiana State University study. Only Nashville, Tenn., Albuquerque, N.M., Kansas City, Mo., and Dallas ranked lower.
The average city had 4.75 deaths per 100,000 people. Grand Rapids, the only other Michigan city listed in the study, had 3.09 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Authors of the study found that those cities with the lowest average of alcohol-related traffic deaths tend to have the most stringent alcohol laws and policies and higher liquor, beer and wine taxes.
Researchers pinpointed 20 regulations related to alcohol accessibility, licensing and discipline policies of places that serve or sell alcohol and the enforcement of legal blood alcohol levels, and looked to see which cities used or enforced them.
Some of those regulations included bans of drive-through beer and liquor stores, laws that prevent public drinking outside of bars or restaurants, restriction of alcohol served at sporting events and the severity of penalties for drinking and driving.
“I lived in New Orleans for a while, and I noticed that they”re much more lax about alcohol control than in other places I had lived, like New York and California,” study author Deborah Cohen said. “We just wanted to see if a city”s policy correlates to the number of deaths, and it does.”
The study showed that cities with nine or fewer of the studied regulations tended to have higher alcohol-related road deaths, while cities that implemented 15 or more of the regulations had low alcohol-related death rates.
The study, funded through a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be published in the February issue of Preventive Medicine.