Advocates for tough drunk driving laws have long argued that these laws help to curb the dangerous and even deadly behavior of drunk driving. A new study shows that advocates of tough drunk driving laws may be right. Approximately 30% of fatalities in vehicle accidents happen when one or more drivers has a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, which meets the legal definition for driving while impaired in the United States.

New research shows that states that are tough on drunk driving see decreases in alcohol related car crash deaths. Data was gathered from the fatality analysis reporting system and state alcohol policies were also gathered using an alcohol policy scale, a tool developed that looks at the alcohol policy environment considering more than 29 different alcohol control policies. A 1% increase in a state’s restrictive policies to cut down on drunk driving led to a 1% drop in the likelihood that a crash was related to alcohol.

A 10% increase in policy restrictiveness, for example, would translate to approximately 800 or fewer deaths within a state on an annual basis. If you or someone you know has already been seriously injured in an alcohol related accident, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.