In the ten year period, from 1999 to 2009, researchers concluded that just over 3 percent of the 450,000 traffic related fatalities cited alcohol as a contributing factor on the death certificate. In fact, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) showed that 21 percent of those deaths actually involved legally drunk individuals, according to MedicalXpress.
Researchers believe the lack of reporting may have to do with impatience, medical examiners and coroners don’t feel like waiting for blood-alcohol reports to come back from the lab. In most places death certificates are required to be filled out within three to five days of the death, but toxicology reports usually take much longer.
States that rarely reported alcohol related factors on death certificates are:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.