Teens and Drunk Driving, A Scary Thought For Any Parent

According to the latest statistics, the prospect of you or someone in your family being involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident is more than just very likely it’s almost a virtual certainty. And a large number of these accidents are due to teens and drunk driving.

In fact, if you’re part of a typical family of five, the chance that someone in your family will find themselves in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash in their lifetime, is an astounding 200 percent.

Imagine, a 200 percent chance that you or someone in your family will either cause, or be an innocent victim to a drunk driving accident. It’s a horrible statistic.

And perhaps, most horrible of all is that a disproportionately high number of those deaths and accidents occur in the 15 to 24 age group. In other words, teens and drunk driving is still a major problem in our society today. A lot of young people are, in fact, dying before they get old. Yes, dying tragic, meaningless deaths

Remember back to the day when you received your driver’s license, and you were all stoked that you could go places on your own? Yep, those were the good old days, weren’t they? Just you and your buddies heading out in the parent’s car for a night on the town.

Finally no one was watching! You could virtually do whatever you wanted, right? Wrong!

Unfortunately a lot of kids think it works that way. This is when you end up with teens and drunk driving. Those darn teenagers head out and scurry after anything they’ve been told they can’t have.

What is with that anyway? Why does that have to part of our typical human nature? I believe they call that hamartia in the film world. Also known as the tragic flaw.

Legal sanctions, such as driver’s license suspension and court-ordered alcoholism treatment, are designed to deter drinking and driving. Driver’s license suspension and license revocation seem to be the most effective deterrents among the general driving population.

However, a meta-analysis of deterrent strategies targeted to the drinking-and-driving population concluded that the most effective means for reducing rearrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and crashes was a combination of license suspension and interventions such as education, psychotherapy/counseling, and some follow-up.

Do you know the statistics on teens and drunk driving?

Well, if you don’t then you’re probably sitting happily in the dark. The fact is that teens are often anxious to get their hands on alcohol for some darn reason. And when you mix that with their pathetic driving skills, it equals a major problem.

Sometimes when I ponder the issue of teens and drunk driving, I don’t know exactly how to relate. I didn’t drink alcohol as a teen simply because I thought it was lame. Or maybe because everyone else was doing it. I certainly didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. I wanted to be completely autonomous. Well, I tried anyhow.

Sadly this is not the common belief shared by most. In reality a high number of teenagers drink, and since they have a driver’s license, they’re susceptible to something going wrong.

Here is what one parent had to say:

“I think I got a pretty big dose of reality when my teenage daughter and her friends were involved in an alcohol related incident. While I was glad these teens and their drunk driving incident didn’t involve an accident, I wasn’t happy about the other aspects of the predicament.

It turned out that she and her friends thought it would be cool to steal liquor from a clubhouse and chug it down. Fortunately for them they got busted for possession (since they’re underage), trespassing, DUI and burglary. But they weren’t involved in an accident. (That’s why they were fortunate in my book anyhow.)

Nice huh? I seriously doubt they expected all of that to come about out of wanting to try alcohol. But it was sure a wake-up call for me and my teenage daughter”

It’s just so hard to say what actually triggers teens to drink and drive in the first place. But adults have come up with several explanations for the disproportionately high numbers of teenage alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents – explanations that range from the false notion of “teenage invincibility” to the increase in personal freedoms (i.e. reaching the legal ages for driving and later, for drinking).

For some, letting or encouraging an intoxicated person to drive seems funny. And, of course, there’s the “I can handle it” syndrome, where the person figures they can “hold” their liquor or that they haven’t had enough to seriously impair them.

Few adults much less teens realize the effect a mere drink or two can have on their system. For instance, teenage boys with a Blood Alcohol level of .05-.10 (a figure below what most states consider the legally drunk limit) are a staggering 18 times more likely to suffer a single vehicle crash than their non-drinking counterparts.

Can you believe it? That’s 18 times more likely! But wait until you hear this next statistic.

Teenage girls at the same levels are an incredible 54 times more likely to crash. You heard that right, that’s 54 times more likely!

Perhaps the greatest influence on teenagers and their drinking and driving habits is “peer pressure”. Peer pressure doesn’t have to be overt. It can be very subtle. And because it’s so important for teens to feel “in”, peer pressure, subtle or overt, is a very powerful force.

Anyway, if you’re concerned about teens and drunk driving, because you have a teen or two of your own, then maybe it’s time to read everything you can find on this subject including all of the current statistics on teens and drunk driving.

Really, do whatever you can to get the low-down now before it’s too late. You will most likely be surprised by what you find out but as adults it’s our responsibility to do our part to prevent teens from drinking and driving.

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