Effects of a 2009 Illinois Alcohol Tax Increase on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes

Am J Public Health. 2015 Sep;105(9):1880-5. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302428. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Objectives: We examined the effects of a 2009 increase in alcohol taxes in Illinois on alcohol-related fatal motor vehicle crashes.

Methods: We used an interrupted time-series design, with intrastate and cross-state comparisons and measurement derived from driver alcohol test results, for 104 months before and 28 months after enactment. Our analyses used autoregressive moving average and generalized linear mixed Poisson models. We examined both population-wide effects and stratifications by alcohol level, age, gender, and race.

Results: Fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes declined 9.9 per month after the tax increase, a 26% reduction. The effect was similar for alcohol-impaired drivers with positive alcohol levels lower than 0.15 grams per deciliter (-22%) and drivers with very high alcohol levels of 0.15 or more (-25%). Drivers younger than 30 years showed larger declines (-37%) than those aged 30 years and older (-23%), but gender and race stratifications did not significantly differ.

Conclusions: Increases in alcohol excise taxes, such as the 2009 Illinois act, could save thousands of lives yearly across the United States as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce alcohol-impaired driving.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / economics*
  • Automobile Driving
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Taxes*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology