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States that have enacted more alcohol- and traffic-related laws have a lower proportion of traffic deaths, compared with states with fewer such laws, a new study indicates. Researchers say encouraging states to adopt more of these laws could significantly reduce preventable traffic-related deaths in the United States, especially among young people.

Researchers at New York University analyzed 27 types of state laws, including mandatory fines for DUI violations, beer taxes and child restraint laws. They examined the relationship between the proportion of the 27 laws that states adopted, and the number of deaths that resulted from traffic accidents. They found that being in the top 25 percent of laws passed was associated with a 14.5 percent decrease in traffic death rates, compared with being in the bottom 25 percent, according to

The study is published in the journal Public Health.

“Lagging behind in adopting the full range of the laws is not a theoretical concern—more people are dying as a result,” study co-author Diana Silver said in a news release. “Policymakers and advocates should focus attention on states where such protections are the weakest and bring them up to speed.”

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