The $44 Billion Dollar Truth: Alcohol Abuse Is Costing Everyone
We all know the damaging effects of alcohol abuse. Many of us have witnessed it first-hand with a friend, family member, partner or spouse – and the effects are dramatic. It has destroyed families. It has crippled businesses and brought pain to entire communities. And the negative consequences are numerous, including divorce, domestic abuse, workplace injuries, lost productivity, criminal penalties and debilitating lawsuits. The list goes on.
One of the most evident impacts of alcohol abuse are traffic accidents. According to the CDC, nearly 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related driving crashes in 2014 – representing almost one third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. That’s 28 people per day… or one death every 53 minutes.1
The numbers are staggering.
But there’s another number that you simply won’t be able to comprehend:
That’s the estimated annual cost of alcohol-related crashes from a study conducted by the DOT in 2010.
$44 billion. Let that sink in.
Just to give you some perspective on how big that number is, the 2016 annual budget for the Department of Transportation (for the entire US) is about $94 billion. The budget for the Department of Education is close to $70 billion. And the budget for the Department of Homeland Security is a mere $46 billion… just two billion shy of the DOT’s estimate of damages from alcohol-related crashes.
It’s impossible to put a price on the life of a loved one – but the costs associated with damages, rescue/recovery, lost productivity, legal processes and more are highly measurable. When you begin to consider the peripheral impact, $44 billion might be a conservative estimate.
When you begin to factor all of the related costs – from first responders to emergency services to delayed traffic – you begin to see that everyone is potentially impacted when just a single person drives under the influence.
To fight this corrosive trend, legislative and judicial response to curb alcohol abuse has become increasingly vigilant. And it has to be – because driving under the influence has reached epidemic proportions. In 2014 alone, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for DUI of alcohol or narcotics.3 Traffic stops and checkpoints have consistently helped to reduce accidents and fatalities by roughly 9%, but offenders are often plagued by recidivism.
The use of installed interlock breathalyzers in offenders’ vehicles has been a key part of the conviction resolution – and has contributed to a nearly 70% decrease in re-arrests.4 But these devices are both expensive and easy to overcome; offenders can simply use another vehicle or have someone else blow into the interlock apparatus. This lack of control and visibility is further exacerbating the economic impact of alcohol abuse.
When offenders can easily skirt the alcohol compliance requirement of their court-mandated sentence, the potential for recidivism increases – and so do the odds of another traffic accident. As more and more young people age into the drinking population and onto our busy highways and roads, that $44 billion could skyrocket – along with the number of lives lost to alcohol abuse.
So how do we fight back?
With CheckBAC™ – a patent-pending solution that finally bridges the gap between testing and accountability. CheckBAC delivers the promise of “Shared Safety” to communities and workforces through the most accessible and widely adopted platform ever created: their mobile phone.
Now courts, businesses and organizations can easily and effectively monitor and manage the sobriety of hundreds or even thousands of individuals from a single point. It combines industry-accurate Bluetooth® technology, a simple, easy-to-use smartphone app and an easy-to-use management platform.
CheckBAC gives you the power to test and monitor individuals – anywhere, anytime – and instantly see their results. And because CheckBAC doesn’t rely on an expensive, car-based Interlock device, it goes where your offender goes and costs up to 80% less than other systems.
To see a demo of the CheckBAC solution, email Rodney@CheckBACBusiness.com
1 Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2014 data: alcohol-impaired driving. Washington, DC: NHTSA; 2015 [cited 2016 Feb 5]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812231.pdf
2 lincoe LJ, Miller TR, Zaloshnja E, Lawrence BA. The economic and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes, 2010. (Revised). Washington, DC: NHTSA; 2015. [cited 2016 Feb 5]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812013.pdf
3 Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2014: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2015 [cited 2016 Feb 5]. Available at URL https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-29