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Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Lawmakers could take steps to reduce DUI deaths

We all mourn the tragic deaths of a UGA staff member and student in a crash on Jan. 15. Based on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s coverage, it appears that excessive drinking played a major role in this event.

CDC estimates that excessive drinking is responsible for about 4,000 deaths in Georgia each year, including nearly 1 in 4 total deaths among 20-34-year-olds. Excessive drinking also cost Georgia $6.9 billion ($2.12/drink) in 2010, with $2 in $5 paid by the government.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends several strategies for reducing excessive drinking and related harms, including increasing alcohol taxes, regulating alcohol outlet density and commercial host (Dram Shop) liability. However, inflation-adjusted state alcohol excise taxes on distilled spirits ($0.04/drink); wine ($0.06/drink); and beer ($0.09/drink) in Georgia declined 42% from 1991 to 2015, and Georgia’s commercial host liability law has major limitations.

We can strengthen the alcohol policy environment in Georgia to prevent future deaths and costs from excessive drinking. Will we?


New York Times on point about Georgia, U.S. Rep. Greene

So it was the heading of Maureen Dowd’s recent opinion column for The New York Times that is the “headline” referred to in the Editorial Board view in March 3′s The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Since there was no reference in the “view,” I had to google it. It turns out I had read her column mainly because of the headline. And I thought it was right on point. The alliteration was a bonus.

But here is what I find puzzling: is the editorial board rebutting her point and indicating that the congresswoman from North Georgia is a positive force for something? That the congresswoman is very much like the former governor of Georgia and former president of the United States who went on to launch good deeds on an international scale? That the congresswoman is one of those Georgia residents who have “taught the world a thing or two about kindness and character”?