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Get the Facts: Teenage Drinking and Driving

Teenage drinking and drivingParents across the country spend sleepless nights waiting for their teenagers to come home. They worry about their children’s safety, especially when they are driving. Unfortunately, teenage drinking and driving is a very real problem in the United States, and parents are right to be concerned.

Let’s start with the good news. Teenagers who claim to have consumed alcohol and then got behind the wheel has declined by more than half since 1991. The bad news is that there is still 1 out of every 10 high school students who admits to making this choice. While the rates have declined, drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to be involved in a crash when they have consumed alcohol than those who drive sober.

The Issue

While the statistics say that fewer high school students are drinking and driving, high school students drink and drive about 2.4 million times each month according to the CDC. Of those teen who say that they have had alcohol and then driven a vehicle, 85 percent also say that they binge drink, or consume five or more alcoholic beverages within two hours.

In 2010, 1 in 5 teenage drivers who had been involved in fatal vehicle collisions had some alcohol in their system. More than half of these teens had blood alcohol contents higher than what is legal for adults. The legal limit for adults across the country is 0.08%.

Proven Prevention

There are things that work when it comes to teenagers and things that don’t. When it comes to drinking and driving, there are proven preventions. These include:

  • No Tolerance – Any person in the United States who is under the age of 21 is not permitted to drive after drinking alcohol. There is no limit for people who are not of legal age to consume alcohol.
  • Graduated Driver’s Licenses – Some states have adopted a system of graduated driver’s licenses. In other words, as teenage drivers move through the stages, they are given more privileges, such as driving at night. Each state in the country has this system, though the specifics vary.
  • Parental Involvement – Research has proven that when parents lay down “rules of the road” and enforce those rules, teenage drivers are less likely to put themselves in risky situations.

What Parents Can Do

Besides talking to their children about safe driving and establishing rules, parents can model safe driving practices. They, themselves, can actively choose to not drive if they have been drinking. Parents can also be sure that their teenagers understand that they should call home, without fear of punishment, if the person they are riding with has been drinking.

Parents can also permit only one passenger, if any, in the car with their child if they are new to driving. They can limit nighttime driving and install apps on their child’s cell phone that prevent alerts from coming through when their child is driving.

If your child has been injured in a vehicle accident in Charlotte and the at-fault driver was found to be intoxicated, you have legal rights. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.

Posted In: Drunk Driving
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