Half of traffic deaths in children and young people related to alcohol

Sedan crashed on side of road; driver's side door smashed in

Half of traffic deaths in people younger than 21 years old are related to alcohol and could be prevented by stronger laws, according to research published online Feb. 13 in Pediatrics.

This is the first study to analyze the effectiveness of laws in reducing alcohol-related traffic deaths.

Researchers analyzed 84,756 motor vehicle deaths of people under 21 in the United States between 2000 and 2013. Their findings showed the 28 percent of the deaths involved drivers with an above-legal alcohol level and half where the driver had any amount of alcohol in their system.

States with stricter alcohol policies had fewer deaths, suggesting that stronger laws could prevent motor vehicle deaths.

Authors recommended focusing on policies that target adults to prevent them from driving younger people while intoxicated.