Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sand mafia flouts the laws in India and Nepal

A tractor is manually loaded with river aggregates by male and female labourers in the Mahakali River [image courtesy: PEI]
Sand is a limited resource and the most mined mineral in the world in terms of volume and yet, its presence is taken for granted. As a result of the modernisation and growing urbanisation across South Asia, demand for sand has increased significantly in the region. With the demand likely to increase further, concerns over the sustainability and ecological viability of existing supply systems have forced a rethink on ways to effectively regulate the sandmining sector.

The big challenge

With sandmining, finding a balance between demand and sustainability is a key challenge. Ensuring that the demand for sand is met at an affordable price while also maintaining its sustainable extraction with minimal impact on the river ecosystem are issues that can be in direct conflict with each other.

Policymakers have attempted to respond to this through stringent regulations. But given the market forces of a growing demand and the limited supply of sand, illegal sandmining flourishes.

In this context and with the support of the Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) programme implemented by Oxfam, Policy Entrepreneurs Inc. undertook a study in Nepal’s Mahakali and India’s Teesta rivers to explore key governance challenges with sandmining in Nepal and India.

Learning from two rivers

Undoubtedly, there are stark differences between the two countries when it comes to the scale and complexity of mining operations.

In Nepal, the scale of sandmining and the corresponding supply of sand from the Mahakali river is relatively low. The institutions and processes that manage the industry are fairly straightforward; autonomous municipal governments in concurrence with relevant provincial frameworks govern the sector and its operations. Depending on the volume of extraction from a single site – i.e. below or above 300 cubic meters per day –  municipal governments are required to apply for environmental clearance which is given either through the ‘initial environmental examination’ or the ‘environmental impact assessment’ process.

In India, however, policies and institutions overseeing sand mining are fairly complex. Sand is classified as a minor mineral and state governments hold jurisdiction over its governance.

Depending on the size of a mining lease, institutions and processes have been established at the district, state and central levels to support, regulate and oversee environmental clearances and compliance. The market demand for sand is significantly large and there exist both formal and informal supply chains.

There is also a mature and vocal activism for sustainability and environmental justice — notions strongly supported by an active judiciary that has played an instrumental role in instituting key reforms for environmental safeguards and promoting sustainable mining. In particular, India’s Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal rulings facilitated the revision of the norms for environmental clearances and the adoption of ‘Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines’ in 2016.

Sand being mined illegally from the Teesta at Sevoke Ghat, Darjeeling District, West Bengal [image courtesy: PEI]

Gaps in policy and practice

Both Nepal and India have, at least on paper, established regulatory regimes intended to promote sustainable sand mining. However, sand mining operations in the Mahakali and Teesta rivers reveal a huge gap between policy and practice. This demonstrates that the dearth of sustainable sand mining practices has less to do with the absence of policies and more with the failure to adequately implement existing ones.

The concern is especially alarming in India, where illegal sandmining continues to flourish unabated despite the implementation of the sector reforms in 2016, which saw a whopping 328,737 cases of illegal mining reported across the country in three years.

In Nepal, the primary issue in the Mahakali region is not illegal sandmining as such, but rather jurisdictional overlaps and the lack of clear mechanisms emerging within the ongoing process of federalism implementation and state restructuring.

This is evident in the royalty-sharing dispute between the two municipalities, namely Mahakali and Bhimdutta, that share the Mahakali river.

While the law restricts the use of excavators, these were two among a dozen excavators working on the allocated extraction sites in the Mahakali river [image courtesy: PEI]

The study identifies multiple reasons that challenge and limit the effectiveness of sector governance and stand in the way of sustainable sand mining practices. These include:

Resources are limited

Despite devolving authority at the local level, local institutions responsible for managing and monitoring the practice of sustainable sandmining are constrained by the lack of adequate human resources and technical expertise. More pronounced in the case of sand mining in the Mahakali river, capacity and resource constraints have limited the role of municipal governments to meeting only sufficient conditions to allow mining. There is limited consideration, if at all, towards ensuring environmental compliance during extraction and of the overall long-term sustainability of the river.

Gaps are exploited

The incentive to over-extract is deeply ingrained in the system. With the increasing demand and limited supply of sand, the result is a market shortage that is reflected by a higher market price. The resulting profit incentivises private extractors to extract more than what they are allowed.

Maintaining oversight over extraction is especially challenging as Sand mining in Nepal and India is fraught with influences of cartels and kickbacks. Cartels ensure collusion among the private sector to secure the cheapest contracts; kickbacks ensure commissions for willing officials to be co-opted into illegal mining schemes. While these collusions do exist in Nepal, they are not as significant as in the case of sandmining in India.

Terms such as ‘sand mafia’ and ‘the nexus’ have become buzzwords in the sandmining debate in India. Much like organised criminal networks elsewhere, these sand mafias are known to receive political protection.

In India’s federal system, because states have the authority to make policies on natural resources and law and order, state-level politicians and authorities are said to be using discretionary power to extend patronage to sand mafias in return for financial kickbacks.

Besides money, sand mafias also resort to violence when required; as a result, local authorities exercise extreme caution and/or avoid monitoring their activity. The nexus between mafias, politicians and authorities was identified by many stakeholders in the Sikkim and West Bengal region as a major hindrance to effective monitoring and regulatory enforcement.

Banning not a deterrent

Given the large demand for sand, a ban on a single river only shifts the problem to other rivers nearby. As policy makers and activists have mostly focused on sand mining in major rivers, the intensity of mining, both legal and illegal, has increased across minor rivers and other smaller tributaries.

Limited adoption of manufactured sand

Despite the government of India’s efforts to promote the substitution of river sand with manufactured sand, lack of awareness and presumptive preference of consumers has limited its widespread use and adoption.

The writers work with the Policy Entrepreneurs Inc. (PEI) and were part of the team that published this study. This story was first published on Read the original story here.

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Inspiration from Seneca, Rhiannon Giddens, Babish, and More!

Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. Please enjoy the archives of earlier collections of inspirational things.

1. Seneca on happiness

“Happy the man who improves other people not only when he is in their presence but even when he is in their thoughts.” – Seneca

I can tell you from personal experience that one of the best feelings you can have is a realization that someone you’ve helped and influenced in a positive way has gone on to do good things without your involvement whatsoever.

You don’t have to be a teacher or a social worker to have this kind of experience, either. Just be an example of the kind of person you want society to be filled with. Have a set of core values, share them when asked, and most importantly, live by those values every second of the day. Listen to the other person when in conversation with them and don’t just use the time when they’re speaking to formulate your response.

Those kinds of things are easier said than done, of course, but those who do them have an outsized positive impact on those around them, and that positive impact often has ripple effects of positivity. The moment when you realize those ripples exist and you had nothing directly to do with them is a moment where you feel really, really good.

2. Jocko Podcast Episode #174 – Set Standards. Aspire to Achieve Them. Become an Eminently Qualified Human

This is a powerful episode of a very good podcast that’s managed to stay in the 20 or so podcasts I listen to for a few years now. The subject of this episode is the value of setting standards for yourself so that you know exactly whether or not you’re living up for what you expect from yourself. The hosts get to this point by going through the personnel review standards that the Navy and Marines use for evaluating service members and discussing the value of standards-based review and how to apply it to yourself.

In short, the episode suggests that you strive to become a better person in every area of life and take steps to do so every single day. In doing this, they propose coming up with clear standards with which to evaluate yourself in terms of today’s performance, meaning you do it every day.

This is actually very much in line with the ideas discussed in the books Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Atomic Habits by James Clear, both of which I have lauded in the past couple of years on this site. I’ve spent time over the last few weeks combining all of these ideas into a system of my own of sorts that takes elements from all three.

What I’m trying to do is define what a truly great person is in each of the different spheres of my life and how that great person lives out a day in their life, in detail and in terms of things that are applicable to me. What does a physically healthy person do each day? What does a fit person do each day? What does a taekwondo master do each day? I’m just writing out what kinds of things those roles embodies. Then, I’m using that to figure out what a “10/10” day is for me as I try to fulfill that role or at least move in that direction to the best of my ability, with my primary interest being effort and gradual refinement. In the end, I aim to reach a point where I’m scoring myself each day on a healthy handful of categories, then revising the standards every few months so that I continue to get better in all areas.

I’ve found that trying to develop this kind of personal standard for myself has filled up a ton of journal entries as I work out the details of everything. It’s been enlightening, and it’s also made me realize that I’m not always choosing the best goals and targets for what I want out of life.

To me, this kind of stuff is pure inspiration. Anything that makes you think about the life you want to live and the person you want to be in great detail is hugely inspirational.

3. Eric Thomas on the next 24 hours

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.” – Eric Thomas

Focus on today. Today is literally all that matters. Make today great. Worry about tomorrow when it comes, but make it great, too.

What does it mean to make a day “great”? That’s up to you to decide, of course. Most of us have a good sense as to what makes a day pretty worthless, but what makes a great day? You really have to define that for yourself.

Then, aim to get as close to that great day as you can every single day. If you do that, your life is going to be really good in the short run and the long run.

4. Google Chrome Library Extension

If you’re an avid reader like me, this extension for the Google Chrome web browser is an amazing thing. Whenever you visit a page for a specific book at several different websites, including Amazon, it pops up and lets you know automatically if that book is available at a library near you. It picks a few nearby libraries by default and you can change those libraries in the settings.

In the last few weeks alone, this popup has kept me from three different unnecessary book purchases that I was considering (not sure I would have actually bought any of them, but I was thinking about it). Rather than whipping out the credit card, I whipped out the library card instead.

Of course, right now I have more books on hold at the library than I can probably read in the time that I’ll have them.

5. Joseph P. Kauffman on being judged

“Any time you worry that someone is going to judge you, that is really you judging yourself.” – Joseph P. Kauffman

The idea that someone else will judge you is simply the assumption that other people will think the way you think and that other people will give you the same level of consideration that you give to yourself. Neither one of those things is ever true.

First of all, no one thinks in the way that you do. The things you notice and value in other people is a set of things that’s different from everyone else. Thus, your opinion on things is likely to be somewhat different than everyone else, and that includes your opinion of yourself.

Second, no one is ever going to go over you in the detail in which you go over yourself. They’ll usually pull out two or three traits about you and stop there.

The things you’re judging yourself over are things that likely won’t be noticed, and if they are, the other person likely won’t think negatively about it. Worrying about it is doing nothing other than bringing down your mood, which will definitely impact how you present yourself and is more likely to be noticed than whatever it is you’re worrying about.

You’ve got this. Don’t worry about what other people think. You got this.

6. Lao Tzu on time

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying ‘I don’t want to.'” – Lao Tzu

Whenever you say you don’t have time for something, what you are really saying is that something else is a higher priority in your life for your time use.

Look around your life. Is everything you’re doing a higher priority than this? Are you sure you’re not just committing to things because they’re urgent and not actually important? Are you sure that you can’t actually commit time to this thing or this person?

My philosophy is this: if something is really important to me, like doing something with a friend, and I am really booked up right now, I flat-out tell them that and I try to schedule something in a week or two right then and there so that they know that they’re actually important to me. If I just say that I can’t because I’m busy, it doesn’t matter how important they actually are to me or how important this particular matter is to me, I’m giving off an indication to others that it’s not important to me.

Similarly, when people never seem to want to do things with me, I eventually stop asking.

7. Rhiannon Giddens – Tiny Desk Concert

From the description:

There is an intensity to Rhiannon Giddens I could feel from the moment she arrived at the Tiny Desk, and her songs reflect that spirit. “Ten Thousand Voices,” the first song in the set, was inspired by Rhiannon reading about the sub-Saharan slave trade. The follow-up piece was inspired by the American slave trade and a New England newspaper ad in the late 1700s of a young woman “for sale” and her 9-month old baby who was “at the purchaser’s option.” Rhiannon Giddens’ thoughts of this young woman and how her life and her child were not under her control prompted the song “At the Purchaser’s Option.”

Despite its weightiness, Rhiannon Giddens’ music is entertaining, and her voice, the melodies, and her accompaniment are engaging. But it is music infused with lessons and deep purpose — something all too rare in popular music in my opinion.

Three of the songs performed at the Tiny Desk are from her recent release, There Is No Other, recorded with her musical partner Francesco Turrisi. Francesco plays banjo, piano and frame drum here and is joined by Jason Sypher on upright bass. Rhiannon picks up a replica of an 1858 banjo for “I’m On My Way,” which she says helps her access her ancestors. “So much beauty and so much horribleness wrapped up together seems to be our story,” she says.

For her closing number, she focuses on the beauty. “You can call it whatever you want, ‘gravity,’ ‘God,’ whatever. There’s a force that I believe in, and that’s what I focus on.” And with that the band takes us out on the beautiful gospel tune, “He Will See You Through.”

SET LIST “Ten Thousand Voices” “At the Purchaser’s Option” “I’m On My Way” “He Will See You Through”

MUSICIANS Rhiannon Giddens: vocals, banjo; Francesco Turrisi: banjo, piano, frame drum; Jason Sypher; upright bass

Rhiannon Giddens is one of my favorite musicians of all time. Her wonderful voice, unquestioned skill on the banjo and other instruments, and the way she uses her music to deeply explore issues makes her more than deserving of the MacArthur Genius Grant she received recently.

Please, have a listen.

8. C.S. Lewis on pain and happiness

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.” ― C.S. Lewis

I believe the opposite is true, too. Often, the happiness I feel now is the pain I had before.

Why? There are a lot of reasons. Things change. The things you love don’t stay the same, and you don’t stay the same, either. It takes work to keep that relationship alive, and if you don’t invest, it’ll fade. You’ll wake up one morning thinking that things are as they always were and … it isn’t. That can hurt.

Even when things don’t fade away, they can suddenly be lost. I’ve lost loved ones very abruptly, and it hurts. That thing that was happy just yesterday is painful today.

The reverse is true, too. If you take something that’s important to you and you pour a lot of yourself into it, it builds into something that you can be proud of, something that does bring you happiness.

Even more than that, I don’t think you can feel happiness without pain. If your life never has difficulty or pain or challenge, it’s hard to feel happiness. It’s hard to feel the joy of something if your life is loaded with it. Treats become rote and routine and ordinary if you repeat them constantly.

9. Margaret Heffernan on the human skills we need in an unpredictable world

From the description:

The more we rely on technology to make us efficient, the fewer skills we have to confront the unexpected, says writer and entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan. She shares why we need less tech and more messy human skills – imagination, humility, bravery – to solve problems in business, government and life in an unpredictable age. “We are brave enough to invent things we’ve never seen before,” she says. “We can make any future we choose.”

Modernization has been so effective at taking away a lot of the dangers of daily life for most of us that we don’t confront the unexpected all that often, and we often don’t know how to handle it well. Yet it’s that ability to confront unexpected situations that often separates success from failure.

Unexpected events are messy, but so are the tools for handling them. I think this video gives a great look at those skills and why they’re valuable.

10. Susan Ertz on immortality and a rainy afternoon

“Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” – Susan Ertz

A rainy Sunday afternoon is a wonderful thing to me. It’s a time to play a game with my family or some friends. It’s a time to read a book. It’s a time to make a batch of fermented food. It’s a time to pull out a cookbook and find something interesting to make. It’s a time to learn about a topic I’ve always been curious about. It’s a time to call my mom. It’s a time to write a letter to someone. I would love to have more lazy rainy Sunday afternoons.

To me, the sadness in this quote is that people don’t know how to fill those afternoons. Time is the most precious resource we have and the desire to live forever is purely a desire to have more time, yet so often we waste that time.

Don’t waste those rainy Sunday afternoons. If nothing else, spend it curled up next to someone you love, or if they’re not nearby, call someone you love and catch up.

11. Basics with Babish – Poutine

From the description:

Poutine is the stuff of legend to our Northern neighbors…so let’s hope I don’t screw it up too bad! Even if you can’t find yourself real cheese curds, this rich and savory sober-up-snack is worth adding to your cheat day menu.

I’ve shared a few videos from Babish over the past year or so. Not only does he prepare dishes that are enticing and still achievable in a normal home kitchen, he does it with production values and humor that are just absolutely perfect for what I want out of an instructional cooking video on Youtube.

His videos achieve that level of getting everything so right that it looks effortless, half-convincing me I could make good cooking Youtube videos because it looks easy. It’s not. There are so many details in this video that are just perfect.

As I’m admiring that, at the same time, I’m learning how to make really good poutine. That’s excellence all around.

12. Jon Stewart on values

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” ― Jon Stewart

The time when values really matter is when they’re hard to stick to. It’s those moments when you feel really conflicted, where part of you wants to go one way and another part wants to go another way. It’s when you hear that everything is fine but something inside of you is saying it’s not fine and you feel conflicted. That’s when values matter.

If you walk away from your values during those moments of conflict, are they really your values? No, they’re not. If you have to really twist a situation to try to halfway convince yourself that something is in line with your values, are you really living in line with your values? No, you’re not.

We all have a sense of right and wrong inside of us. It’s not necessarily exactly the same from person to person, but many of the broad strokes are the same. The question is, do we live by those values? Or do we abandon them whenever it’s expedient to do so or whenever someone says something appealing to us?

The choice is up to each of us, but let’s not kid ourselves: when we do things and believe things and buy into things that aren’t in line with the values we supposedly hold, those values aren’t really our values.

The post Inspiration from Seneca, Rhiannon Giddens, Babish, and More! appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Friday, October 4, 2019

How to Prepare Your Finances with Parkinson’s Disease

You’ve received your diagnosis, and the tremors, stiffness, and slowing movement have a name. Parkinson’s disease (PD) disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and occurs when neurons in the brain gradually break down or die, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to physical and psychological symptoms, Parkinson’s disease costs more than $25.4 billion every year in medical expenses and $26.5 billion in missed work, lost wages, early forced retirement, and family caregiver time, according to a study conducted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

A Parkinson’s diagnosis can completely change your income and expenses, so it’s important to have a plan — and above all, remember that living with PD into old age is quite possible. You may want to meet with a financial advisor, set a budget or financial plan, evaluate your retirement fund, and consider how Medicare can help. 

“Updating a financial plan upon diagnosis is advantageous for two primary reasons. First, a comprehensive financial plan offers peace of mind for the newly diagnosed and their families as they face an uncertain journey,” says Brendan Willmann, a certified financial planner and enrolled agent with Granada Wealth Management in Asheville, North Carolina. “Second, because the disease is degenerative, it is advantageous to review finances and estate planning prior to a decline in cognitive functioning. Doing so can help ensure decisions are made while meeting the legal requirement of a ‘sound mind.’”

What to Expect with Parkinson’s

There are five stages of PD and the disease progresses at each stage. No matter which stage you’ve been diagnosed in, it’s a good idea to have your finances in order because you may find that the disease becomes increasingly difficult to manage.

Stage 1
You may have mild symptoms such as tremors on one side of the body as well as changes in posture, walking and facial expressions.

Stage 2
Tremors, rigidity and other movement symptoms affect both sides of your body. Walking problems and poor posture may cause daily tasks to be more difficult if you live alone.

Stage 3
Stage 3 is considered mid-stage. Balance, movement slowness and falls are more common. Your symptoms can hinder everyday activities such as dressing and eating.

Stage 4
Symptoms are severe at this stage. You may be able to stand without assistance, but movement may require a walker. You’ll need assistance with everyday tasks and will be unable to live alone.

Stage 5
This is the most advanced stage. Stiffness in the legs may make it impossible to stand or walk and you’ll require a wheelchair or must be confined to bed. Nursing care is needed full time and you may even experience hallucinations and delusions.

Develop a Financial Plan

It’s important to think through how these stages will impact you both physically and financially. Here are a few items to consider as you plan your overall financial goals, and if you’re a younger Parkinson’s patient, you’ll need to consider these in more detail, particularly if you’re not ready for retirement.

Medical Expenses

Ask your medical team to help you estimate the costs of medical expenses, including medication like Carbidopa/Levodopa, as well as physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. You may also want to ask whether you’ll need deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is an electrode that’s implanted into a targeted area of the brain to help with tremors and motor issues.

Assistive Technology and Equipment

You may need equipment that will help you with day-to-day lifestyle changes. Adaptive equipment may include: 

  • Compression hosiery
  • Adaptive clothing to make it easier to get dressed
  • Weighted utensils that can help stabilize eating movements 
  • U-Step walkers to increase mobility
  • Transfer chairs and wheelchairs

Potential Job Loss

You’ll need to plan for any potential job loss by rounding up disability insurance benefits, personal savings, retirement benefits (if you’re of retirement age), and more. Consider any supplemental income, like rental income, that will be able to help you bring in extra cash and which can bolster the money you bring in per month and in the event of a job loss.

Long-Term Care Costs

Do you have a long-term care insurance policy? If so, now’s the time to review it. Long-term care insurance is also called nursing home insurance and can save your family a lot of money in the long run. Don’t have long-term care insurance? The median cost of long-term care out of pocket depends on your state but is about $85,800 on average in all states. It’s a good idea to work out how you’ll pay for long-term care insurance or what your options are if you don’t have this type of insurance.


Make a determination early on as to whether you prefer in-home care or assisted living. Parkinson’s patients tend to require more care than the average individual in assisted living (approximately $500 to $1,000 more per month than average). The national average for in-home care is approximately $4,500 per month, whereas the cost for assisted living is $4,250. 

Estate Planning and Legal Fees

There are a few legal fees you’ll need to plan for, particularly when you do some estate planning. Estate planning documents take care of your decisions while you’re alive but if you’re incapacitated and can no longer make decisions on your own. In other words, you can decide in the early stages of Parkinson’s how you want your assets and care handled — through a will or trust, durable power of attorney, guardianship and/or an advance directive. 

Margaret “Pegi” S. Price, J.D., professor at National University and the author of the book, The Special Needs Child and Divorce: A Practical Guide to Evaluating and Handling Cases, says the average cost for estate planning and legal fees are:

  • Attorney fees: A few hundred dollars per hour
  • Court fees: $200-300 range

“In the later stages, a person with Parkinson’s disease can experience cognitive decline, including dementia. It is vital to set up all legal documents, like a will or trust, power of attorney, and advance directive early in the process, while the individual still has the legal capacity to sign legal documents. If you wait too long, the family might have to file a guardianship action with the courts,” Price says.

Wills and Trusts

There are differences between a will and a trust. A will is a legal document that appoints a guardian to your minor children and also explains what to do with your assets upon your death. If you don’t have a will, the state will decide how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries. This process is called probate.

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party (trustee) to hold assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries will get access to your assets more quickly than they would with a will. A revocable living trust is called “revocable” because you can change it as your wishes change, and it’s called “living” because you make it while you’re alive. 

Durable Power of Attorney and Guardianship

Eventually, the time will come when you need someone to make decisions for you. You’ll need to consider durable power of attorney and guardianship options early on. A durable power of attorney means that a trusted friend or relative will be able to handle legal, financial or medical decisions if you become incapacitated. The only way durable power of attorney is removed is if you revoke it. 

Guardianship is awarded by the courts to someone who can look after your affairs when you become incapacitated. Guardians will look after your personal, financial and physical well-being. For guardianship, Price says the cost for a lawyer to meet with the alleged disabled person (to look at medical records, meet with the disabled person, find out that person’s wishes, meet the proposed guardian(s) and write a report) costs around $3,000 and approximately $250 per hour. Service fees (for the sheriff to personally serve the papers) is about $100-$200. 

In addition, a medical, psychiatric, vocational expert, or some other expert on disabilities will be $500-600 an hour.

Advance Directive

An advance health care directive is also known as a living will. An advance directive is used to make health care decisions once you’re unable to make them yourself. It could involve indicating whether you want a machine to continue breathing for you if you can no longer breathe on your own, do not resuscitate orders, and more. 

You may want to consider setting up a savings account as soon as you are diagnosed to take care of some of these expenses, if you don’t already have an account you’ll draw from to pay for various costs. You may want to talk with your loved ones at length about these major financial decisions. 

Organizations That Can Help

It’s important to assemble a team of professionals shortly after diagnosis. “A certified financial planner (CFP) should be able to assist in organizing finances, an important first step. A family meeting with a CFP, a qualified tax advisor and an estate planning attorney can serve to address family questions and prepare a fully coordinated, comprehensive plan,” says Willmann. 

A qualified team should be able to answer any cash flow assumptions, go over life and disability insurance policies, as well as Social Security and Medicaid benefits. Professionals will go over your Medicaid eligibility and offer you a clear understanding of your options upon incapacitation. 

Life and Disability Insurance

Your CFP should be able to go over any life and disability insurance options you can tap into. Life insurance is a lump-sum payment or death benefit paid to your beneficiaries when you die. Disability insurance is intended to help replace some of your income by paying you periodically when you become unable to work, according to the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). 

Social Security Benefits

There are two programs where you can reap Social Security benefits, and your team of professionals can help you choose when you should tap into one of these programs:

  • The Social Security disability insurance program can offer benefits to you and certain family members if you worked and paid Social Security taxes.
  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.

Medicaid and Medicare Benefits

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including people with disabilities, according to Answer a few questionsto see if you could be available for Medicaid assistance.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that can offer you health benefits if you’re 65 or older. There are several parts you can look into:

  • Part A: Covers inpatient care in hospitals, nursing facilities, hospice, and home health care.
  • Part B: Covers services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, preventive services, and more. 
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage: Covers everything that original MedicarePart A and Part B) covers, plus prescription drug coverage and other benefits as well.
  • Part D: Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance: Covers health care costs that the original Medicare program does not cover, and it’s sold by private insurance agencies.

There are numerous nonprofits that can offer resources to you and your family upon diagnosis. The Michael J. Fox Foundation offers Parkinson’s 360, a resource base that can address any questions you may have.

Veterans with Parkinson’s

The VA can also help finance health care and compensation if you were

exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Agent Orange was used to clear plants or trees during the Vietnam War. You do not need to establish a connection between Parkinson’s and military service to receive free VA health care and disability compensation. Know your rights and what you’re financially entitled to by submitting a medical record that shows you have an Agent Orange-related illness and a military record that shows that you served in Vietnam during a particular period

Prepare for the Future

You may feel as if you’re preparing for an uncertain future, but one thing is for sure: it’s a good idea to begin saving and preparing so you can manage what the future holds. Whether you need an estate-planning attorney, financial advisor, assistance with Social Security, or even just help figuring out what to do with your money market account, pinpoint your needs as soon as possible.

The post How to Prepare Your Finances with Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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60+ Texting and Driving Statistics and Facts

In recent years, people all across the country have shifted their attention to the dangers of texting and driving. 

This shift in public discourse may not be surprising. The latest data on the dangers of distracted driving show that in 2017 a staggering 401 fatal crashes were reported to have involved distraction by cell phone use.  

What’s more, crashes involving cell-phone related activity accounted for 14% of all distraction-related fatal crashes across the country in that year, resulting in 434 deaths.

Over 80% of drivers polled in 2016 believed that distracted driving was a much larger problem than in 2013 and that the problem is only increasing. 

These 60+ texting and driving statistics will help you understand the current landscape, and what you can do to make the road a safer place.

Table of Contents

  1. Statistics on Texting and Driving by Generation
  2. Statistics on Teens Texting and Driving
  3. Texting and Driving Statistics by Gender
  4. Reasons That People Text and Drive
  5. Situations That Prevent Drivers from Texting and Driving
  6. Texting and Driving Laws
  7. The Dangers of Distracted Driving
  8. Tips for Preventing Texting and Driving
  9. Dangers of Texting and Driving Infographic

Statistics on Texting and Driving By Generation

Of all the drivers involved in fatal crashes caused by cell phone distraction, drivers under 30 years old account for those most likely to be using a cell phone at the time of the incident. 

In a 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, data indicated that compared to all drivers, those between ages 19 to 24 were:

  • More likely to read or craft text messages while driving 
  • More like to find texting while driving acceptable 
  • Less likely to support legislation designed to curb driving distractions 

The same study also indicated that 88% of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior (texting while driving, red-light running, and speeding) while driving in the last 30 days, which earn millennials the top spot as the worst behaved drivers in the United States. 

The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also indicates similar trends. 37% of fatal crashes caused by distracted drivers on their cell phones involve drivers that were 20 to 29 years old. It is reported that for all fatal crashes involving distracted drivers using cell phones:

Distracted Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes
Age % of Drivers
15–19 16%
20–29 37%
30–39 21%
40–49 12%
50–59 8%
60–69 5%
70–79 1%

As you can see, young adults are some of the worst offenders when it comes to distracted driving:

  • 16% of drivers 21 to 24 years old send text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time
  • 17% of drivers 25 to 34 years old send text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time 
  • 19% of drivers 16 to 20 years old read text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time
  • 47% of drivers 21 to 34 years old read text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time

Statistics on Teens Texting and Driving

Teen drivers are the fourth most prevalent age group to use cell phones while driving. 

In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that:

  • 9% of all teen motor vehicle crash deaths involve distracted driving 
  • 9% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes are teens 15 to 19 years old
  • 8% of teen drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the incidents
  • 52% of people killed in teen distraction-related crashes are teens 15 to 19 years old

Texting and Driving Statistics by Gender

Looking at texting and driving through a gendered lens unearths some interesting findings on the differences between male and female distracted driving habits. In 2015, data indicated the following:

Female Distracted Driving Habits

  • 50% of female drivers ages 45 to 54 are the most likely to say that they would use an app designed to block phone calls and text messaging while driving 
  • 79% of females are very likely to intervene when  the driver of their vehicle is sending text messages or emails while driving 
  • 7% of female drivers send text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time 
  • 81% of female drivers never send text messages or emails while driving 
  • 9% of female drivers read text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time 
  • 76% of female drivers never read text messages or emails while driving
  • 87% of female drivers never use smartphone apps while driving
  • 79% of females are very likely to intervene when the driver of their vehicle is sending text messages while driving

Male Distracted Driving Habits

  • 71% of males are very likely to intervene if the driver of their vehicle is sending text messages or emails while driving 
  • 9 % of male drivers send text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time 
  • 79% of male drivers never send text messages or emails while driving 
  • 13% of male drivers read text messages or emails while driving at least some of the time
  • 73% of male drivers never read text messages or emails while driving
  • 80% of male drivers never use smartphone apps while driving

It turns out that women are more likely to: intervene if their driver is texting while driving; never send text messages while driving; and never read text messages while driving when compared to their male counterparts.

Reasons That People Text and Drive

There are a number of reasons that prompt people to engage in distracted driving on the road. Work-related messages are more likely to prompt drivers to text and drive, over personal or social messages. These are the most popular motivators:

  • The message is important (43%) 
  • The message is work-related (9%) 
  • The message is personal or social (8%) 
  • The person the driver is messaging is important (8%)
  • The driver needs to report a traffic crash or emergency (6%)
  • The message makes or responds to a quick or short message or call (4%) 
  • The driver needs directions or other information (4%)

When it comes to how people rate their driving abilities, reports indicate that drivers are overconfident in their ability to text and drive, though it makes them nervous when others do:

  • 31% of drivers report no difference in their driving when they text 
  • 34% of drivers report being distracted or not as aware of things when texting and driving 
  • 12% of drivers report they drive slower while texting and driving 
  • 86% of people indicate that they would feel very unsafe if their driver was sending text messages or emails while driving
  • 81% also report that they would feel very unsafe if their drivers were reading texts or emails while driving 
  • 47% of people report that they would feel safe if their drivers used a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone while driving

Situations That Prevent Drivers From Texting and Driving

Data indicates that drivers are less likely to text and drive if: 

Texting and Driving Laws

Today, 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have a ban on texting when driving. However, distracted driving laws and enforcement vary from state to state. 

Take a look at the table below to get a detailed breakdown of distracted driving laws across the United States.

Primary Versus Secondary Enforcement

As you’ll see in the table below, some bans are subject to primary enforcement, while others are subject to secondary enforcement. 

Primary enforcement means that a police officer is allowed to stop and ticket a driver when the officer observes a violation of the law (like texting and driving). 

Secondary enforcement means that the officer cannot stop and ticket a driver unless they engage in that offense and an additional violation (like texting and driving while also speeding).

State All cell phone ban Texting ban Enforcement
Alabama Drivers age 16 and 17 who have an intermediate license for less than 6 months. All drivers Primary
Alaska No All drivers Primary
Arizona School bus drivers; Learner’s permit and provisional license holders during the first six months after licensing. All drivers Primary: cell phone use by school bus drivers

Secondary: cell phone use by young drivers

Arkansas School bus drivers, drivers younger than 18 All drivers Primary: for texting by drivers and cell phone use by school bus drivers

Secondary: for cell phone use by young drivers, drivers in school and work zones

California All drivers All drivers Primary: handheld and texting by all drivers

Secondary: all cell phone use by young drivers

Colorado No All drivers Primary
Connecticut All drivers All drivers Primary
Delaware All drivers All drivers Primary
District of Columbia All drivers All drivers Primary
Florida No All drivers Primary
Georgia All drivers All drivers Primary
Hawaii All drivers All drivers Primary
Idaho No All drivers Primary
Illinois All drivers All drivers Primary
Indiana No All drivers Primary
Iowa No All drivers Primary
Kansas No All drivers Primary
Kentucky No All drivers Primary
Louisiana No All drivers Primary
Maine All drivers(effective 9/19/2019) All drivers Primary
Maryland All drivers, school bus drivers All drivers Primary
Massachusetts Local option All drivers Primary
Michigan Local option All drivers Primary
Minnesota Yes(effective 8/1/2019) All drivers Primary
Mississippi No All drivers Primary
Missouri No All drivers Primary
Montana No No Not applicable
Nebraska No All drivers Secondary
New Hampshire All drivers All drivers Primary
New Jersey All drivers All drivers Primary
New Mexico Local option All drivers Primary
New York All drivers All drivers Primary
North Carolina No All drivers Primary
North Dakota No All drivers Primary
Ohio Local option All drivers Primary: for drivers younger than 18

Secondary: for texting by all drivers

Oklahoma Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders, school bus drivers and public transit drivers All drivers Primary
Oregon All drivers All drivers Primary
Pennsylvania Local option All drivers Primary
Puerto Rico All drivers All drivers Primary
Rhode Island All drivers All drivers Primary
South Carolina No All drivers Primary
South Dakota No All drivers Secondary
Tennessee Yes All drivers Primary
Texas Drivers in school crossing zones All drivers (effective 9/01/2017) Primary
Utah Speaking on a cell phone, without a hands-free device, is an offense only if a driver is also committing a moving violation other than speeding All drivers Primary: for texting

Secondary: for talking on a hand-held phone

U.S. Virgin Islands All drivers All drivers Primary
Vermont All drivers All drivers Primary
Virginia No All drivers Primary: for texting by all drivers

Secondary: for drivers younger than 18

Washington All drivers All drivers Primary
West Virginia All drivers All drivers Primary
Wisconsin No All drivers Primary
Wyoming No All drivers Primary

While the majority of states across the country have enacted regulations aimed at distracted driving, the overall awareness of these laws varies across drivers:

  • 57% of drivers believe their state has, or likely has, a law banning talking on a cell phone while driving 
  • 76% of drivers believe that their States has, or likely has, a law banning texting or emailing on a phone while driving 
  • In States that ban sending or reading text messages and emails while driving, 36% of drivers were unaware of the law 
  • In States without laws banning the sending and receiving of text messages, 25% of drivers were aware that their States did not have such a law

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

The effects of distracted driving, especially texting and driving, are severe and irreversible. 

A 2018 study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that: 

  • Texting doubles your chances of getting in any kind of accident – which can raise your insurance rates 
  • Texting triples your chances of being involved in a crash where the vehicle actually departs the road (drives off the roadway, crashes into a tree, hits a sign, etc.) 
  • Texting increases your odds of rear-ending another vehicle by a multiple of 7

Moreover, in 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that:

  • 3,157 crashes happened as a result of distracted driving 
  • Of all 34,439 crashes that year, 9% of the total crashes involved distracted driving 
  • 444 distraction-affected crashes involved a cell phone in use 
  • 3,450 fatalities occurred as a result of distraction-affected crashes
  • 486 fatalities resulted from distraction-affected crashes with a cell phone in use 
  • 3,210 drivers were involved in distraction-affected crashes 
  • 457 drivers were involved in a distraction-affected crash with a cell phone in use

Texting and driving is a huge issue, but texting isn’t the only form of distraction on the road. Distracted driving refers to any activity that sidetracks your attention from driving. 

Activities that lead to distracted driving come in a multitude of forms and include: 

  • Talking on your phone
  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Talking to someone in your vehicle
  • Tinkering with an entertainment or navigation system

Distracted driving is separated into three categories. Visual, when you take your eyes off the road. Manual, when you take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive, when you take your mind off of driving.

Every day, approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 injured due to distracted driving.

Distracted driving is such a huge issue that there are companies dedicated to monitoring your phone usage while driving. Companies like Zendrive analyze driving behavior and use a combination of data capture and pattern analysis to determine if a driver is engaging in safe or risky behaviors at a given time or place. 

Zendrive even allows insurance companies the option to integrate Zendrive’s monitoring services into their mobile app. If a user has granted permission and an insurance company has integrated a service like Zendrive into their mobile app, this data could impact the user’s auto insurance rates. 

The best way to avoid the pitfalls of texting and driving is simple: avoid it completely. 

Tips for Preventing Texting and Driving

If you’re looking to break your dangerous habit of texting and driving, consider these practical tips:

  1. Keep your phone out of reach or out of sight while driving. 
  2. Turn your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or turn your phone’s notification volume to silent and keep the vibrate function off while in the car. 
  3. Use an app to block incoming calls or texts while driving. 
  4. Pullover to a safe location and stop your vehicle entirely to send or read a text message.
  5. Securely mount your phone to your dashboard, if you need your phone for navigational purposes, and keep your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while driving to prevent notifications from distracting your attention.
  6. Make a social commitment and tell your friends that you’re not going to text and drive. 
  7. Get involved! Help stop distracted driving by encouraging your peers, colleagues, or loved ones to curb their dangerous driving habits, or by spreading the word about the potential dangers of distracted driving.

The dangers of texting and driving should not be taken lightly. Every time a driver switches their focus from driving safely on the road to their cell phone, they increase their likelihood of being involved in (or the cause of) a fatal car crash. 

Arm yourself with the tips above to curb your own texting and driving habits and remember the information you learned today the next time you reach for your phone or hear that fateful message ping the next time you’re driving. 

It’s also never a bad idea to equip yourself with a car insurance policy. At The Simple Dollar, we’ve assessed pretty much every car insurance company under the sun so you can determine which company has the best auto insurance policy for your needs. Discover our helpful rundown of the best car insurance companies of 2019 to ensure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way on the road. If you’re looking for discounts, we’ve also got you covered for the cheapest car insurance companies.

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How Many Bank Accounts Should You Have?

Over the years, several readers have asked some variation on that basic question, along with some obvious follow-up questions. How many checking accounts should I have? How many savings accounts should I have? Should they be at the same bank, or at different banks? Does having more accounts increase the risk of identity theft? Does having fewer accounts make money management more difficult?

I thought I’d address all of those questions in one place.

For Most People, There’s No Reason To Have Accounts at Multiple Banks

That’s the core of all of my banking advice, right there. For the vast majority of people, having your basic banking services – a checking account and a savings account – at a single bank is probably the best move.

There are a bunch of reasons for this that boil down to two major elements.

First of all, keeping your business at one bank makes banking and account management simpler. If you have a banking issue, you know right where to go with it. You don’t have to worry about multiple checkbooks, multiple routing numbers, multiple account numbers, and all of that. You have your money centralized in one account, reducing the risk of things like overdrafts due to having things spread out across multiple accounts and banks. You also may find it difficult to keep up with minimum balances if you have your money spread across lots of accounts.

Second, the fewer banks you do business with, the lower your risk of account fraud and identity theft. Your personal data is simply in the hands of fewer businesses, thus there is a lower likelihood of an intrusion at a random bank hitting your data.

That isn’t to say there is never a reason to have accounts at multiple banks.

There Are a Few Specific Reasons to Have a Second Bank

One reason is that you have a specific reason for wanting some of your money separate. For example, perhaps you want to have an emergency fund at a second bank so that you don’t have instant access to it with an ATM card. You carry your bank card around for your primary bank, but for your bank that just has your emergency fund, you leave the card in a safe place.

It’s worth noting here that some banks offer the ability to have multiple savings accounts with ease. For example, Capital One 360 makes it easy to create multiple savings accounts for lots of different goals.

Another reason is that you might be in the process of transitioning to another bank. When you move from one bank to another, it’s a good idea to have a period of adjustment where you make sure that you haven’t forgotten any automatic transfers or anything like that at your old bank while you’re mostly using your new bank fo everything. That overlap period is a great reason to keep two accounts open, but eventually you’ll want to close out the old account.

A third reason, and one that’s not really a good one in the current economy, is that you’re chasing interest rates. At times when banks are offering higher interest rates on savings accounts and CDs than the 1% that they’re offering now, it may make sense to have some money in savings accounts to move around quickly to chase the highest interest rate while keeping money at your primary bank. I did this for a short while in the mid-to-late 2000s, where banks were offering interest rates on savings accounts as high as 6% or 7%, but it was an era that quickly fizzled as the economy went into a strong recession after that and interest rates on savings accounts haven’t rebounded since (though they may again, someday).

There are obviously relationship-related issues as well. Perhaps you and your partner maintain separate accounts by agreement, or perhaps there is a deep trust issue in your relationship or you’re preparing for separation.

Here’s the issue: all of these reasons are niche reasons that don’t apply to most people. There’s not enough value in chasing better interest rates in savings accounts and CDs right now to bother with it. Most people aren’t in the midst of a bank transition at any given moment. Most people aren’t in a relationship that is in crisis (although quite a few people in long term relationships do maintain separate accounts – Sarah and I did, at first).

What If I Have Extra Accounts?

If you’re in a situation where you have accounts at multiple banks without any good reason for doing so, I recommend closing the accounts you don’t frequently use and centralizing your accounts at one bank. However, I wouldn’t simply charge into a bank and close the account immediately.

Rather, if I were about to close a seldom-used account, the first thing I’d do is look through the last year or so of statements for that account and see whether there are any deposits or withdrawals that are still going through that account. For each of those, I’d make sure that those deposits and withdrawals were changed to go through my primary checking account at the bank I’ve chosen to use for most banking. Once you’re sure the accounts aren’t going to be hit with transactions any more, I’d close the accounts by visiting that branch.

How do you decide which bank to use? For a primary checking account and a savings account that won’t be holding a huge balance, which is how most people bank, I wouldn’t worry about interest rates. Save that concern for situations where you’re chasing a rate and have enough money to actually make that rate-chasing worthwhile.

Rather, I’d make sure that there were no fees on basic account usage, that there is robust online banking available, and that there’s at least some easy access to an actual person for customer service issues. Ideally, that means that there’s a local branch somewhere near you so you can actually go in and talk to a teller or to a branch manager if there’s an issue. Banking customer service solely by phone can be lacking, and having everything just work smoothly is something you really, really want from your primary bank.

Final Thoughts

The core ideas here are simple.

Unless you have a specific reason for doing otherwise, it’s a wise idea overall to have your banking activity all channeled through a single bank. This simplifies things and reduces the chance of identity theft.

There are a few specific reasons for having multiple banks, but those issues are fairly rare, and for most people, a single bank is likely the best solution.

When you’re choosing which bank to use as your primary one, focus more on low fees and good customer service in the form of online banking and, if possible, direct access to tellers and branch managers through having a local branch available near you.

Good luck!

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35+ Drunk Driving Statistics and Fatal Facts

With over 221 million licensed drivers on the road in the U.S., enforcing road safety is more imperative than ever. However, after much research, we found that drinking alcohol doesn’t stop millions from getting behind the wheel. But, what exactly are the facts and statistics behind drunk driving accidents?

And an even better question — why do people continue to break the law by driving under the influence when they know it’s not only irresponsible, but dangerous? Not only do drunk drivers put themselves and others in danger, but drivers must remember that car insurance rates increase after accidents and other irresponsible driving behaviors.

The CDC’s task force, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), consistently surveys the American public about whether they have driven under the influence of too much alcohol in the last 30 days. The latest report from 2012 revealed that the nationwide average is 1.9% across all 50 states and Washington D.C. This means that more than 6 million Americans drive under the influence of too much alcohol every month

In this article, we delve into the state of drunk driving in the United States, dissecting the problem based on age, gender, location, and more. 

Drunk or Drugged: Driving Under the Influence

Alcohol has been the main concern for a long time but as controlled substances like marijuana are becoming legalized for recreational use on a state-by-state basis and prescription drugs are more commonplace, driving under the influence of drugs, and worse, in combination of alcohol has increased substantially. 

When considering the biggest contributors to driving-related deaths, 29% of fatalities while driving are caused by alcohol. What’s more, 22% of fatalities while driving are caused by other controlled substances, including prescription medication. 

Since 2007, there has been a 48% increase in drivers testing positive for THC while driving at night on the weekend.

The first large-scale study to determine the risk of driving while under the influence of drugs other than alcohol was undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a 20-month period in Virginia Beach, VA. The study included 3,000 crash-involved drivers and 6,000 non-crash-involved drivers, which served as the control group.

The results, adjusted for gender and age, reveal that drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 grams were more than 2 times as likely to crash than drivers with no alcohol. Drivers with a BAC of .08 grams, on the other hand, were almost 4 times as likely to crash than drivers with no alcohol intake. This means that an increase in blood alcohol content of a mere 0.03 g/dl nearly doubles your chances of crashing. 

What constitutes as driving under the influence?

It’s illegal to drive in the U.S. if you have a BAC of more than .08 grams, but statistics show that driving under the influence of any kind has its costs and consequences.

What to Know about Teen Drunk Driving Statistics 

Drinking underage is a major problem in the U.S., yet, it’s often grouped together with the overall drunk driving statistics. However, did you know that drivers between the ages of 15-19 represent 6.5% of the U.S. population?

Tech-savvy teens make authentic-looking IDs online, while others may get their hands on alcohol through friends, family or even strangers. However may be their way around the law, the fact that the legal driving age is between 14-16 in most states, and alcohol being statistically available to minors, makes driving under the influence a major concern.

The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality found that 14% of teens binge drink, yet only 1% of parents believe his or her teen binge drinks. When surveyed in 2018, 9% of teens between the ages of 12–17 had consumed alcohol within the past month. In the same age group, there were 401,000 teens that were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.

Furthermore, About 1/4 of fatal teen car accidents involve underage drinking and driving. Gender makes a difference too — 27% of the young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking at the time of the crash, compared with 15% of the young female drivers involved in fatal crashes.

These numbers were frightening, so we asked, how can underage drinking and driving be prevented?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) says: It starts with the parents.

Parental styles vary, but parents play an important role in influencing their children to lead a healthy life. Modeling good behavior, keeping liquor outside of the home, or at least locking it up, and being open about the consequences for drinking and driving can help teens make the right decision.

Additionally, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has a graduated driver licensing system that varies by state to enforce a step-by-step process that allows young drivers to gain experience before getting full driving privileges.

Whatever may be the tactics parents, lawmakers and educators use, one thing is for certain: you can’t remain silent when it comes to educating teens about the risk involved in drunk driving.  

Gender Differences in Drunk Driving 

Historically, more men than women drink alcohol in the U.S., but the differences between the genders is narrowing. In an annual National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) survey, researchers found that 48.3% of females and 56% of males drank in the past 30 days.

Are those numbers consistent to female versus male drunk driving statistics?

As the overall number of drunk drivers are decreasing, the gap between male and female drunk drivers is also decreasing. 

In the 1980s,10% of drunk driving arrests were women, but by 2011, that number increased to close to 25%. Still, this means that 3/4 drunk driving arrests are men. There are many cultural, discrimitory and tolerance factors that could contribute to why there is a difference between genders when it comes to drunk driving. 

As a result, car insurance companies typically have a higher premium for men in the same age group as women, but given that the gap is closing, they may start making changes to plans to reflect that. 

Drunk Driving Statistics by Region

We analysed the alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2017, and found that the highest number of fatalities came from southern states. 

The safest state? Vermont, making up .1% of the number of alcohol-impaired fatalities. 

We also looked at the cities with the highest percentage of DUIs compared to the national average:

  • Cheyenne, WY: 5.96% of drivers have a DUI ( 277% than national average) 
  • Orange, CA: 4.65% of drivers have a DUI ( 194% than national average) 
  • Billings, MT: 4.6% of drivers have a DUI ( 191% than national average) 

What do all of these cities have in common? They’re not among the states known for strict drunk driving laws. Although driving with a BAC of .08% or higher is a federal law, states have their own laws as the repercussions of a DUI. For example, Arizona is known as one of the strictest states given a first-time offender gets up to 10 days in jail, $1,250, a license suspension of 90 days and ignition interlock devices are mandatory. Even worse for those with a higher BAC. Georgia is up there too with a minimum jail sentence of 10 days, loss of license for a year, and at least $1,500 of fees. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some states are more lenient. For example, South Dakota is known to let DUI’s slide more than others with no minimum jail sentence for first-time or second-time offenders.

To help reduce drunk driving on a state-by-state basis, communities could consider increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints and requiring ignition locks for high-risk people so they can’t start their engine if the driver’s alcohol BAC is too high. 

Drunk Driving Accidents and Fatalities

One person dies from a drunk-driving crash every 48 minutes in the U.S. Furthermore, One-third of all automotive crash fatalities in the US involve drunk drivers.

As we mentioned before, a drunk driver is classified by a BAC of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. Although many more people drive after having a small amount of alcohol, the majority of accidents occur at BAC levels 0.15 g/dl and above. Here is a percentage breakdown of the blood alcohol contents of driving fatalities in 2017:

This means that 58% of fatalities involving drivers under the influence of more than six drinks on average. At this level of intoxication, most people have difficulty walking in a straight line. 

In 2017, there were 10,874 deaths resulting from a drunk-driving crash. Here is a breakdown of all 10,874 deaths by role in the accident: 

Role Number Percent
Drunk Driver 6,618 61%
Passengers of drunk drivers 1,492 14%
Occupants of other vehicle 1,583 15%
Pedestrians/other 1,181 11%

Alcohol-related highway crashes annually cost Americans an estimated $37 billion per year.

Drunk Driving Statistics by Year

Thousands of deaths are a result of alcohol-impaired crashes annually, but over the past almost 40 years, the percentage of alcohol-impired crashes has decreased by 12%. To put that into perspective, in 1985, there were 18,125 alcohol-impaired crash fatalities, compared to 10,874 in 2017.

Some say that tougher state alcohol laws are tied to less drunk driving related accidents, while others say that media plays a big part in warning those of the consequences. Either way, the decrease in deaths appears to be trending in a positive direction. 

Age plays a factor in the annual fatalities, too. People ages 21-24 play the biggest part the amount of fatalities at 27% in 2017, but this is down from 34% in 2008. Surprisingly, the only age groups that have increased the number of deaths related to drinking in driving are those over the age of 64. 

Driving While High Versus Drunk Statistics 

We still have a lot to learn when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol versus drugs. Given it’s much harder to detect when someone is driving under the influence of drugs with the accuracy of an alcohol breathalyzer, statistics are fuzzy. 

While many speculate, a
2017 study
published in the American Journal of Public Health looked at fatal crash data from 2009 to 2015 in two marijuana-legal states: Washington and Colorado. The research concluded that there is no significant link between marijuana use and fatal crashes.

There is, however, much varied opinions out there. Although the data might not be out there, tests for confirming active THC in fatalities are not common given they’re expensive. There is no breathalyzer out there to know if someone has active THC in their system — it must be tested by urine or blood. Therefore, understanding how marijuana has taken a part in high driving-related crashes is inconclusive at this point. 

Some say that high driving is simply less dangerous than drunk driving, but researchers say that there is still risk involved. While drunk drivers are known to increase their speed, drivers who are under the influence of marijuana are known to drive slower. 

How to Prevent Drunk Driving 

Although we’ve seen a decrease in alcohol-related driving deaths over the past 40 years, it’s still a prevalent problem that requires a solution. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that states should enforce alcohol ignition interlock use, which allows them to monitor offenders of people who have been caught for drinking and driving previously.

There are a number of other strategies that have been proven to prevent drunk driving in communities such as staging more sobriety checkpoints, introducing mass media campaigns, hosting free interventions, revoking licenses, and implementing school-based instructional programs.

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