Each year, thousands of people die due to alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle accidents. To combat the problem of auto accident fatalities, some cities and towns have set up several substance abuse treatment programs. The question is: does establishing a substance abuse program really help in the fight against auto accidents?

There is debate over whether substance abuse clinics have the potential to lower the number of accidents caused by DUI’s.

Studies show that cities and towns where substance abuse programs were established, the number of automobile accidents was reduced from anywhere from 8 to 13 percent. This is positive since, each year, there are over 30,000 motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. with over 30% being alcohol or drug-related. Several hindrances have been put into place in the past to discourage people from driving while high or intoxicated. For example, alcohol taxes, not selling liquor on Sundays, revoking driver licenses, and raising the legal drinking age are just a few.

Every year, over two million people are treated in a substance abuse facility for alcohol and drug addiction. For those that are seriously addicted, the number of those that are successful at recovering is huge. One very positive result of drivers being treated in a substance abuse program instead of jail or prison is how much less it costs the city and state.

Patients attending a substance abuse program either go on an in-house treatment or an outpatient treatment basis. There are a couple of reasons why a person will choose one over the other. Sometimes, it is voluntary and the person realizes they have a serious problem. Other times, the person is court-ordered and can include the threat of jail or prison time and the removal of children to foster care.

Some counties are known to be “dry” counties, prohibiting the sale of alcohol. However, some motorists bypass this by going to the next town or city and purchasing liquor and drugs. Still, research shows that being a “dry” county does typically reduce the number of automobile accidents every year.